An 18-year era ended in Brightwaters Monday night, as Mayor Joseph McNulty held court over his last village board meeting.

A packed audience at Brightwaters Village Hall gave a standing ovation to McNulty, who is not running for re-election this year.

"I would like to thank all village residents for allowing me to serve in village government for the past 25 years -- 18 of those years as your mayor," he said to the audience.

"Whenever I made decisions, I believed I always had the best interests of the village in mind. I tried never to break the trust of our neighbors and my neighbors had in me."

When he first came into office in 1996, McNulty said the village of about 3,000 residents had more than $1.7 million in debt. He proudly noted that he winnowed the debt down to zero.

"The village at the present time is debt-free," McNulty said, adding, "I believe I am leaving the village in good stead financially."

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The board voted unanimously to rename the annual ice cream social after McNulty, and the mayor's family has presented a large village seal to be hung in village hall.

"As you know, it's the crown jewel of the Great South Bay," McNulty said of Brightwaters.

In public comments, former trustee Robert Fischer praised McNulty's "dedication to the village in the long run."

The audience also paid tribute to trustee Jack Riordan, who is not seeking re-election this year after 2 1/2 years on the board. "It's been my pleasure," Riordan said.

Deputy Mayor Denise Gibson and trustee Joe McDermott are vying to become the next mayor.