Hutchison said he will not run for re-election.
Longtime Dover City Councilman James L. Hutchison Sr. announced Tuesday morning he will retire from the council at the end of his term in May 2017.
“I’ve put out a notice to the mayor and council that I will not seek re-election,” Hutchison, 74, said in an interview with the Dover Post. Hutchison currently represents the First District along with James E. Hosfelt Jr.
Hutchison has a record of more than 40 years with the city, including 25 years as a police officer, 10 years as mayor and seven as a member of council. He became the city’s first full-time mayor while serving from 1994 to 2004.
“I absolutely love Dover,” Hutchison said, “I’ve been deeply honored to serve the citizens of Dover for those years.
“However,” he added, “I think the time is right for me to step down and let some new people come in.”
Hutchison cited a number of improvements that have come to the city and its administration over the years, including council’s Committee of the Whole concept, where all council members take part in the various subcommittees, and changing the terms of the city’s elected officials from two to four years. He also felt changes in technology which allow council members to receive city documents and information electronically have resulted in a significant savings in both time and money.
Hutchison joined the city police force in 1967, eventually being named chief of police. He retired in 1992 and was elected councilman at large the following year. In 1994, he ran for and was elected mayor, which at the time was a part-time job, and successfully lobbied council to make the mayor’s office a full-time position. He declined to run for re-election in 2004, electing instead to take a job in the banking industry.
He returned to council in 2011.
There already is at least one prospective candidate for the First District seat: Tanner Polce, an instructor at Wesley College who also works as a legislative aide. Polce on Dec. 11 announced his intentions to run for the office, but has yet to file the necessary documentation with the city clerk’s office.
Hutchison said he is not yet prepared to make any endorsements.
“I’m aware of the young man,” he said of Polce. “He has a good background, but at the same time I want to wait and see who will run.
“I certainly would hope that we get a number of people showing an interest in that office,” Hutchison added. “It’s a very important office and it takes a true willingness to commit yourself to serve.”
Hutchison said he also has resigned or will be resigning from a number of boards or committees on which he also serves.
He plans to spend more time with his wife, Cathleen, his grandkids and perhaps playing some golf.
“I’ve never, ever been fully retired,” he said. “I’m going to see what that’s like.”