The City of Lenoir City Council honored Councilman Ben Willis last week during the Jan. 18, 2022, City Council meeting. Councilman Willis is resigning from the Council at the end of the month.
Mayor Joe Gibbons read a resolution honoring Councilman Willis' service during his 10 years on City Council and then presented Councilman Willis with a key to the city.
"Thank you to Ben for all of his service on the council and across the state," Mayor Gibbons said. "Ben came in a young man and just took hold and has loved being a part of it, I can tell. He has involved himself in so many things not only here in the county, but across the state. You’ve done a great job. We will miss you here, but we know that you’ll still be doing great work for our city and county."
Councilman Willis thanked his family, the Council, and the people who supported him over the past decade.
"I’ve gotta thank my family, my wife Jamie, and my two kids Jay and Elizabeth. They’ve given 10 years of allowing me to do this, and having to miss ball games," Councilman Willis said. "I can’t express enough how important it is to have younger people get involved in local politics, state politics. It’s very important to have that voice, and I really appreciate my wife and kids for allowing me to do that."
Councilman Willis thanked the residents who supported him and shared words of encouragement over the years.
"I wouldn’t have been here unless you believed in me and it’s be an honor representing the people of this town," Councilman Willis said to his supporters.
He also praised City staff for making the City run well.
"We get these keys and other stuff, but it’s the department heads and all the people who work in the city of Lenoir that make us look good," he said. "Thank you so much for doing what you do."
Before wrapping up his comments, Councilman Willis gave a word of encouragement to the candidates interested in filling his seat on City Council.
"For you guys that are coming up for this seat, know that you are coming to something special. You got a great group of people [Council], they’ll guide you," he said. "You got the best city in North Carolina. We’re not too big, we’re not too small, but you can make a difference."
Councilman Willis also thanked his parents for helping him become the man he is today.
"Thank you to my mom and dad who showed me first-hand how to care and work hard to improve the community and the people around you," he said. "I would not be who I am today without their love and support."
"Thank you all for everything. I really, really appreciate it," he said.
Councilman Willis resigned from Council to take a position with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG). His last day serving on City Council is Jan. 30. He will start his new position as Community and Economic Development Director with the WPCOG on Jan. 31.
RESOLUTION HONORING BENJAMIN KEITH WILLIS
WHEREAS, Ben Willis has served faithfully and diligently as a member of the Lenoir City since December 2011 and served as Mayor Pro-Tem from 2015 to 2019; and
WHEREAS, Ben Willis submitted his resignation on January 4, 2022, to accept a position with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments as Community Economic Development Director; and
WHEREAS, as an elected official, Ben Willis has devoted his time, energy, and talents to this City and provided experience, sound judgment, and ardent support while serving on various regional, state, and national committees to briefly name a few,
- North Carolina League of Municipalities Executive Board of Directors-served two terms as District 10 Director
- Western Piedmont Council of Governments Policy Board, Air Quality Board, Planning Board and Transportation Advisory Committee Board
- National League of Cities Small Cities Committee and the Information Technology and Communications Steering Committee
WHEREAS, Ben Willis has reviewed and deliberated all matters, facts, and proposals presented before the Council in a fair and sound manner, at all times keeping the best interest of the citizens of Lenoir as a first priority; and
WHEREAS, Ben Willis has worked constantly to further Lenoir’s economic, cultural, and aesthetic development, as evidenced by the many successful projects accomplished during his tenure on City Council, including:
- Helping create and contributing to the City’s Brownfield Development Committee.
- Working with City Council on establishing long-term strategies and goals to ensure the fiscal strength and stability of the City.
- Supporting the implementation of market rate compensation for City employees whom he values as the “heart and soul” of the City.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Lenoir City Council, in regular session assembled this 18th day of January, 2022, hereby expresses sincere appreciation to our friend and colleague, who through his excellent leadership and dedicated service to this City has earned respect and proudly made lasting contributions for the betterment of the City; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, I, Mayor Joseph L. Gibbons, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of the City of Lenoir, North Carolina, and on behalf of the Lenoir City Council and all the citizens, do hereby extend our deepest gratitude and highest commendation to Benjamin K. Willis for his devoted and outstanding service.
This the 18th day of January, 2022.
Joseph L. Gibbons, Mayor
Pictured from left: Councilman David Stevens; Mayor Pro Tem Crissy Thomas; Councilmen Ike Perkins, Ben Willis, and Ralph Prestwood; Mayor Joe Gibbons; Councilman Todd Perdue; City Manager Scott Hildebran; and Councilman Jonathan Beal.
Mayor Joe Gibbons, right, and Councilman Ben Willis shake hands as Mayor Gibbons presents Councilman Willis' resolution.