BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Bend City Councilor Rita Schenkelberg has informed the city and colleagues of plans to resign this week, a decision coming a week after Mayor Sally Russell said she, too, is leaving her position as of Wednesday night’s meeting.
Here’s the email Schenkelberg, who was elected in the fall of 2020, sent to colleagues on Monday afternoon:
“Dear fellow city councilors and city staff,
“I am writing to inform you of my resignation as of the May 18th, 2022, meeting. I am grateful for all the support I have received during my time in office. I have learned so much and was grateful to bring ideas forward which weren’t previously discussed. Thank you to all the staff who took time to explain and navigate topics with me. Thank you to all the staff who invited me to see where they work and share about their positions and responsibilities.
“Thank you to my fellow city councilors. I am grateful to you all. Thank you for teaching me about local government and the nuances of our position.
“I am unable to meet the expectations of my full-time job and being a city councilor. The pressure to be the first queer, non-binary, poc was not sustainable for me. My hope is that the thoughts and ideas I have brought forward can help inform future decisions.
“Thank you everyone again,
Rita Schenkelberg (They/Them)- City Councilor”
The City Charter and recently revised city council rules says a vacancy in the council shall be filled within 30 days by appointment by the council, but if the council does not fill the vacancy by an appointment within 30 days, then the vacancy gets filled at the next election, which would be in November.
It also outlines that if the council doesn’t fill a mayoral vacancy through appointment of one of the other councilors, that council vacancy process would apply to that position as well.
City councilors will have a discussion of the vacancies and potential mayor appointment at the end of Wednesday night’s council meeting, as well as declaration of a council vacancy, if necessary, and selection of a subcommittee to oversee the appointment process.
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