The decisions by Mayor Don Gerend and Deputy Mayor Bob Keller to retire at the end of their present terms represents a dramatic shift in the political landscape in Sammamish.
Gerend will finish his 18th year in office when the current term ends Dec. 31. He was one of the original Council members when the City was incorporated in 1999.
Keller is finishing his first term. His wife, Shannon, retired from her job and Keller wants to join her in retirement. Keller served on the Planning Advisory Board, which wrote the City’s first Comprehensive Plan, and the Planning Commission, which among other things wrote the Town Center Plan.
Both distinguished themselves with their public service.
Hoping for new people
Both announced their decisions Thursday in the hour before the annual Council retreat began in Tacoma. Most of their fellow Council members had not been informed before a press release was issued by the City.
Gerend and Keller said they hope that by announcing now, a good representation of new people will emerge to run for open Council seats. Seeking an open seat is easier than challenging an incumbent.
With several key and controversial issues facing the Council this year, Keller said he wants to focus on City business rather than be distracted by running for reelection.
Pressure on others
Announcing their intentions now puts pressure on Council Members Tom Odell and Kathy Huckabay to announce whether they will seek reelection. Odell is completing his second term and Huckabay is in her 16th year on the Council. She took a two-year hiatus in 2012-14. Like Gerend, she was one of the original Council members.