Rev. Joe Darby, presiding elder of the Beaufort District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church

Joe Darby

I’ve had the privilege of knowing Joe Riley since 1998, when I came to Charleston as pastor of Morris Brown AME Church.

We’ve had numerous opportunities to collaborate on issues embraced by the faith community, the NAACP and the PASTORS Community Development initiative.

When I’ve had the chance to present him, I’m fond of saying what I’ve sometimes heard others say — that some white citizens think he’s done too much for black folk and that some black citizens think he’s done too much for white folk. When you manage to ruffle feathers equitably, you’re getting things done!

The mayor has ably led Charleston in times of celebration and in times of challenge, and has done so in ways that enhance the quality of life for all Charlestonians. Although we’ve had our points of disagreement and more than a few occasions to “butt heads” on some issues — we’re equally stubborn and opinionated — I’ve never doubted that he has the best interest of all citizens at heart and I consider him to be a friend.

I wish him well as he goes into what’s considered to be “retirement,” but I have no doubt that he’ll still be a force for progress in our community.