Long-time Halifax Regional Municipality councillor Gloria McCluskey has announced she's ending her long career in elected politics.

McCluskey has served the people of Dartmouth for more than two decades as a plainspoken mayor and councillor. She says now is the right time to retire while she is still in good health.      

“I'm always thinking of tax payers’ money, and maybe I might not be able to carry on for four more years. I might get ill," said McCluskey.

For nearly 23 years, McCluskey has been in politics serving as mayor of Dartmouth until amalgamation in 1996. She joined politics again as a councillor in 2004.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage says he has a lot of respect for the councillor. His father John Savage and McCluskey entered municipal politics around the same time.

"She's like Beyonce – you know her by the first name," said Mayor Savage. "She's truly a legend, and she makes a big mark."

McCluskey says she'll work until Election Day. After that, she says she has no plan set in stone.

"I don't know what I'll do the day after election. When the phones aren't ringing and the emails aren't coming in, it'll be sad," she said.

Warren Wesson has been working with an organization to preserve Dartmouth's identity within the municipality. He hopes the new councillor will be just as dedicated as McCluskey.

"With Gloria out, we really need to be driving that message home to the candidates,” said Wesson. “We really, really need someone to be strong for district five."

"My advice for the new person would be to be sincere, be honest, and let people know where you stand on any issue," said McCluskey.

Voters will choose a new councillor during the municipal election in October.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Suzette Belliveau.