Covington City Manager Steve Horton announced at Monday's Covington City Council meeting that he wants to work one more year and then retire.
He decided stepping down after another year was the best choice because of recent health concerns.
"The real issue here has never been nor should it be about me, it is our city and the people who are in it that matters and I am very honored and humbled to have been able to serve them in my various capacities," Horton said Tuesday in an email.
Horton was first hired as a police patrol officer in February 1978. He worked his way through the ranks to police chief, where he served from June 1996 to the fall of 2007. He was promoted to public works director, then assistant city manager and, eventually, city manager, the top position in Covington.
The mayor and council members expressed sadness Monday when they heard Horton would be leaving.
"This will be a huge loss for the city," said Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams.
"I hoped that it would be," said Horton, joking, adding "I hope to do great things in the next little bit."
Later, Mayor Kim Carter said she would miss Horton.
"I'm not gone yet," he assured.
Horton has served as city manager since November 2005, when he took over for Frank Turner Sr., who had been city manager since 1970.
"As far as Steve Horton goes, you've got the best," Turner said when Horton took over. "He's the cream of the crop."
Council members have previously thanked Horton for his even-keeled approach and perspective, and Horton and Turner are credited with providing stable city leadership for the past four decades.
Horton said he was making the announcement in advance of the election so that no one would think his decision was politically motivated.
Horton and his wife, Mary, have one son, Steven Jr., and two grandchildren, Taylor and Steven III.