1/23/2013 6:00:00 AM Payne retiring from city board
By STEVEN THOMAS
Longtime Alderman-at-large Janice Payne formally announced last week that she would not seek a fifth term.
Payne, who has served 16 consecutive years at the post, made the announcement at the end of last week's city board meeting.
"I'm 70 years old with two grandchildren," Payne said when asked why she would be leaving.
She noted that by the time of the election she would be close to 71 and four years later, close to 75.
"I've spent 16 years as alderman and given my best to the city, she said. "At times I've put it [the city] before my family and that's not right. It's time to put the family first."
In an advertisement in this week's Democrat, Payne thanked residents for allowing her to serve.
"It has been a joy and pleasure to be a part of the growth of the city of Philadelphia," she said. "I have sincerely given my best and feel I have been instrumental in assisting the alderman that I have served with to bring change and great development to our city. I have a passion and love for this city that will never cease."
Payne said she was truly grateful for all the city employees.
"I praise each of you for the great job you do. Thank you," she said.
Payne will serve out the remainder of her term, which expires in June.
She cited her work in beautifying the city as her major accomplishment, including cleaning up of old and abandoned properties.
"I believe I've made an impact," she said, noting that she wished she could have done more.
Mayor James Young commended her service.
"She was all about making the city look its best," Young said. "She was the key to that."
However Payne cited the city's inability to enlist more industry as a major disappointment.
"But, we've retained what we have," she said.
Payne also noted her displeasure that the Marty Stuart Museum would not be completed before she left office.
I'm anxious to see it finalized for the city and county, she said.
"There's a lot that I failed at but I did the best I could," she said.
However, Payne said that beautification was not all she cared about.
"In my time, the fire department has grown and the new police chief [Bill Cox] has already had many accomplishments," she said. "There is a lot to be proud of.
"I've had a very positive experience. I've met some wonderful people and been involved with a lot of progress."
After leaving she will continue to volunteer with various projects and organizations.
"I have a passion and love for this city that will never cease," she said, "I only wish the very best for it and I want it to grow."
Payne was quick to note that even with five months left in her term, she wouldn't just sit back and "cruise along."
"I will work just as hard with whatever crosses my path," she said.
Ward 4 Alderman Cecil Nichols, who sits next to Payne during board meetings, said he felt good about his time working with Payne.
"The whole time we never had a disagreement," he said. "She was a good alderman. What she believed in, she stood up for."