“We’re all jealous of you,” the certificate states, “but at least we are younger!”
Lawson has served Mount Carmel in a number of capacities since being elected alderman in 1982, including two stints as mayor for a total of 17 years, eight years as vice mayor, and eight years as an alderman.
Two years ago, he came out of retirement to take over as city manager while the Board of Mayor and Aldermen changed the leadership structure of the city following a series of controversial personnel and policy decisions made by the previous mayor.
Last month, the BMA hired Mike Housewright, who takes over the city manager duties from Lawson, as well as the city recorder duties from Marion Sandidge when she retires at the end of next year.
At the end of Tuesday’s BMA meeting, Mayor Chris Jones presented Lawson with the real certificate of appreciation.
It states, “Upon your retirement the Town of Mount Carmel presents this certificate to Gary Lawson, and wishes to express its sincere thanks and gratitude for your many years of dedicated service. Your wisdom, and your commitment to excellence have long inspired all of us and will be remembered for many years to come.”
An avid golfer, Lawson received a cake decorated like a golf course which jokingly had only one word written in icing: “Quitter.”
“I really appreciate the opportunity you gave me and the confidence you had in me to do this,” Lawson said. “I always loved the town and will do anything for the town. I guess people don’t realize I spent 30-something years in this town (government) in one capacity or another.
“I’ve been here quite awhile and I’m sure you’re all tired of me by now. I would be too, and I’m just glad to be able to go home. I think I’m leaving it in good hands. I think Mike will do a good job for you. We’ve got a good board, and I wish Mount Carmel all the prosperity it can have.”