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McKeown Abruptly Retires

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Jorge Casuso

May 26, 2021 -- With no prior warning, City Councilmember Kevin McKeown announced at Tuesday's meeting that he would retire effective June 11 then abruptly turned off his zoom camera.

The surprise announcement shortly before the meeting adjourned around midnight lasted 45 seconds and left his Council colleagues in shock.

"Before we continue I have a brief announcement," McKeown said, "and this is something I wanted to say at the same time both to the Council and to the community.

"I have decided to retire. You've all been very kind about not looking my age but I am well into my seventies.

"I am profoundly grateful for the many years I have had the privilege and honor of being able to be of service to this city, which I deeply love.

"But I have decided to retire effective two weeks from Friday. So again I am retiring as of June 11.

"I thank you, good night and goodbye," McKeown said before disappearing from the zoom meeting.

Councilmember Phil Brock lifted his arms and dropped his jaw. Mayor Sue Himmelrich tapped her forehead and began to speak -- "None of us," she said but didn't finish the sentence.

The Council -- which had heard some five hours of staff reports and public comment on the proposed $1.3 billion biennial budget-- then discussed the procedures to continue the budget session. The Council is scheduled to vote on the final budget on June 22.

Before adjourning, several Councilmember briefly thanked McKeown but made no comment on his announcement.

The last remaining tenant on the dais, McKeown, who is 72, is a staunch champion of renters rights and environmental initiatives, winning his first council bid in 1998 as a Green Party member before becoming a Democrat in 2005.

He was the top vote getter in 2006, 2010 and 2014 before finishing third in 2018. He served as Mayor in 2015 and 2019.

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