Mayor gives farewell speech after a 'hellish' year

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson is in his final stretch leading the city.

On Wednesday night, he said goodbye at his final town hall meeting.

"I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. And I have kept my faith," Mayor Johnson said.

He received a standing ovation from the crowd and many from the public thanked him.

"I don't know what other people think, but you did have a good fight," one citizen said.

Mayor Johnson came up with the idea for the city's town hall meetings.

Wednesday night's forum was the 32nd one...and Johnson says he's proud.

"People have come in the cold, in the rain, and in the heat time and time again," the Mayor said.

But the meetings haven't come without criticism.

At recent candidate forums, some have called the meetings dog and pony shows.

"I'm offended by it and I hope you're offended by it," Mayor Johnson said.

The city manager says she also took offense.

"Under no stretch of the imagination is this a dog and pony show. This is a staff of over two thousand experienced individuals," City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney said.

The mayor said he hopes he'll be remembered by his eight years of accomplishments, not the last year of controversy.

"This last year has been rough but that comes with the territory. I've tried to stay in the eye of the storm and keep my eye on the prize," the Mayor said.

He says he plans to take a break and write a series of books after his term is finished.

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