Beaufort councilman Fordham says he won't run again in 2012

His term doesn't end until 2012, but veteran Beaufort City Council member Gary Fordham says he already has decided not to seek reelection.

Fordham, 64, was first elected to City Council in 1999. Prior to that, he served 16 years on Beaufort County Council.

The Beaufort native and retired attorney said nothing in particular prompted his decision.

"I just think it's time for me to step down and turn the reins over to someone new," Fordham said.

Longtime Councilwoman Donnie Beer said Fordham is one of the few remaining true "Beaufortonians."

He votes "the way he feels" and is not easily swayed, Beer added.

"He's been a part of a lot of change and advancement and done a great job," Beer said. "I know he will be missed."

Fordham's announcement this far in advance gives others interested in running for council ample time to consider a bid, Beer said.

"It will give someone a real opportunity to prepare and observe how things operate," she said.