MONTREAL - Sammy Forcillo, 63, Montreal's longest serving city councilor, is retiring.

Savino, or Sammy, as he is best known, announced Friday that he won't be running for re-election in Peter McGil where he currently serves as city councillor.

Forcillo - a glad-handing, sometimes-controversial populist - was first elected to council as a member of Jean Drapeau’s team in the east side St. Jacques borough in 1978.

Forcillo had served, often on the executive committee, under a variety of mayors, including Jean Drapeau, Jean Dore, Pierre Bourque and most recently Gerald Tremblay, who put Forcillo in charge of the city’s finances in 2008.

Forcillo's name came up at Charbonneau commission hearings in recent months, as he was referenced by a contractor as a gatekeeper for meetings with Vice Chairman Frank Zampino, who was fingered in a series of corruption-related accusations.

In 2009, Forcillo’s name came up along with Cosmo Maciocia after a roofer discussed an alleged extortion scheme reported on in La Presse.

Contractor Paul Sauve, who won a $10.6 million contract to restore the copper roof of Montreal’s City Hall said he was told to pay up $40,000 to two city councilors, but the duo said they had nothing to do with any such scheme.

Forcillo, who had a quirk of crying publicly, either in joy or sadness, was removed from Gerald Tremblay’s executive committee soon after.

The well-dressed chartered accountant by trade once even mused about running for mayor after he split with Pierre Bourque’s Vison Party in 1998.

He most recently won his seventh mandate by beating challenger Karim Boulos to win the downtown seat in 2009.

His final involvement in politics involved the million dollar renovation to Percy Walters Park in July, which left some dog lovers irritated.

To get a sense of how long ago Forcillo started in Montreal city politics, when he was first elected in 1978, the Bee Gees were topping the charts with Stayin’ Alive, the Habs were into the last season of their four year Stanley cup winning run and Red Brigades faction were still terrorizing Europe.