PLEASANTVILLE — Jesse L. Tweedle Sr., who has served as mayor of the city for more than a decade, said Friday he will not seek reelection.
Tweedle said he plans to retire from politics to spend more time with his family.
“It’s time for me to turn the page and move on,” Tweedle said. “My work is not done, but I think I’ve laid down the groundwork for what needs to be done here.”
Tweedle, 72, a Democrat who first entered public service in the city in 1988, made the announcement Thursday night at the city’s Regular Democratic Club meeting, he said.
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While he plans to remain a city resident, he also wants to spend more time in Florida, where his two children and three grandchildren live.
He said he will finish out his term, which is set to expire at the end of this year. He declined to comment when asked whether he’s endorsing anyone to fill the seat in the upcoming election.
City police Chief Sean Riggin said Tweedle has been an integral part of the community and will be missed.
“Mayor Tweedle has been part of the fabric of the city of Pleasantville for my entire career,” said Riggin, a 19-year veteran of the department. “On behalf of the department, we are sincerely grateful for all his efforts for public safety. We will miss him, but we hope to continue to work with him in the future.”
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Decreasing crime and strengthening the relationship between law enforcement and the community has been a major focus, Tweedle said.
In 2018, the city became the first municipality in the state to put ShotSpotter, a gunshot-audio detection system used to help police investigate shootings, before a referendum, which passed. Officials went live with the system last year.
“We have completely changed the culture on Main Street,” he said. “We’ve never had such an excellent relationship between the police and the community.”
City Business Administrator Linda D. Peyton, who has worked with Tweedle for nine years, said his passions included boosting literacy in children, moving forward economically and improving the perception of the city.
Leonard Fitts retired more than two decades ago.
“I think he put his best foot forward in trying to continue to make Pleasantville a better place to live and improve the quality of life for our community,” she said.
Tweedle reminisced about a time decades ago when he caught a kid taking a sign down from his yard promoting the sale of his city home. The boy explained that he took it because “every time someone does well, they move.”
“That touched me because it really makes a lot of sense. That kid was exactly right,” he said. “Social ills are perpetuated because everybody who does well moves.”
But the city is a family-oriented, loving and nice place, he said, and that moment inspired him to get active in city work.
“I’ve seen all the good people and the potential,” Tweedle said. “The way I am, I put other people before myself, and I saw an opportunity to make Pleasantville a better place to live. I’m really proud of my staff and this administration.”