Outgoing City Councilman Neal Johnson was given high praise and recognition for his work and impact in the community during his last session in the Ward 3 seat representing southwest Miami.

MIAMI – After a term, which began in April of 2012, Councilman Neal Johnson sat at the new Miami City Council dais for the last time. Johnson lost his bid for election to the Ward seat to Ryan Orcutt who will take office at the next regular council meeting.

Mayor Rudy Schultz read a proclamation lauding Johnson’s many accomplishments and honoring him for his dedicated service to his beloved community and presented him with a plaque.

Throughout his tenure Johnson has served on the boards of the Miami Tourism, Convention and Visitors Board, The Miami Downtown Redevelopment Authority, including planning and construction of the Red Robertson Stadium project, Miami Community Facilities Authority and he served as City Treasure and Mayor Pro Tempore.

“That’s a long list of things,” Schultz said after reading of all Johnson’s many contributions. “I don’t think people realize the amount of time that Neal has put into this job. He served on five different boards and just the stadium committee alone, the first two years we met every Wednesday night. Neal was there every one of those meetings and has done a lot for the City of Miami. I appreciate you Neal, and know everyone else does too.”

Johnson also helped see the late Miami Mayor Kent Ketcher’s wish to build a new state of the art animal shelter facility to fruition with the City’s new Ketcher/Keheley Animal Shelter built on the Truck Route.

Johnson received a standing ovation and applause.

Councilman Doug Weston said, “I‘ve known Neal since grade school. If the proclamation doesn’t say it all I want you to know he went above and beyond the call of duty in his task up here, and you’re going to be missed bud.”

Councilman Brian Forrester said, “All I want to say is that from day one when the Mayor had contacted me about filling in the Ward seat, Neal stepped up and above to make me feel comfortable in you know, how to approach this and handle this. I know some people would agree, and the Mayor had said that what he did and the amount of time he put in, I would say goes above and beyond if you add up all of what all of the other council members has time to do, and for that I’m very fortunate to able to sit beside you this whole time. Sitting with you on the MCVB has been great. You’ve helped me along the way and made me feel comfortable about sitting up here and you’ll be missed. Thank you for your time. Everybody will tell you that’s served on the council or as mayor will tell it’s a thankless job, and I will agree with that. Sometimes you find a lot of people that got a lot of things that you should do, but no answers of how to get there. And Neal you always stepped up and tried to help every position you were a part of so thank for your time here.”

“Neal has served as Chairman of the CVB Board for awhile and has been such a great supporter for tourism in Miami. Although he won't have the chairman title, I know he will continue to be an Ambassador for all things Miami and his beloved Wardogs! Thank you for your dedication and hundreds of volunteer hours,” MCVB’s Amanda Davis said later. “We are so grateful for your friendship and service to our City.”

Johnson was appreciative and humble in his farewell remarks.

“First of all I want to thank Dean, City staff, City employees, you all are the best, period. The people I’ve served up here with, Kent Ketcher, Scott Trussler, brother Joe Sharbutt, and all of you, it’s been quite an honor, and I thank you very much,” Johnson said. “A special thank you to Amanda and the MCVB, I loved it, I love you all, and last but not least my wife, I wouldn’t be up here without her, so thank you again. I love you all.”

Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at mstotts@miaminewsrecord.com or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.