In his last few years as mayor of Dormont, Thomas Lloyd has witnessed extremes in leadership.
"I'll tell you, all the years I served on council, and then as mayor ... that was probably some of the worst combined council and manager [leadership] I could have ever imagined," he said of the immediate former council and manager.
After 20 years as mayor, he'll retire next year knowing a few new faces are making a difference.
The borough is finally shedding its reputation for dysfunction and heading in the right direction, he said, especially with new borough manager Jeff Naftal and council President Bill McCartney at the helm.
"I think it's really excellent, and I look for good things for them to do in the next few years," he said.
Mr. Lloyd doesn't have a specific retirement date but is not expected to run after his term ends in early January 2014. He'll turn 80 on Wednesday and has already retired from his longtime position as business manager at what is now the University of Pittsburgh Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.
Leg problems have made it tough to get around, even to council meetings, he said.
"It's just difficult to get to the building anymore and do the job the way I liked it," he said.
Mr. McCartney said in his short time working with Mr. Lloyd, the two have been -- and remain -- in disagreement about some borough affairs, but "we're certainly not disagreeable."
"We enjoy each other's company, and I enjoy particularly how he can put things into context with the history of this place that I certainly can't and few can," he said.
An Army veteran and former National Guard member, Mr. Lloyd served four terms on Dormont council starting in the early 1970s before ascending to higher leadership.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd run for mayor," he said.
He did -- and was elected to five four-year terms.
Retirement will mean spending more time with his family and watching endless baseball games.
But there's plenty to do before then. The police department will hire a new chief after Phil Ross retires later this year. It also will bring in a new sergeant and patrolmen.
Within that once-embattled department, which he controls as the mayor, he's found his greatest accomplishment.
"I think we brought back stability to the police department," he said, "and that means an awful lot."
Molly Born: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1944.