Burlington City Councilor Jane Knodell (P-Central District), who served three years at the helm of the city's legislative body, will not seek a fourth one-year term as council president.
"I think it is important to give others the opportunity to lead us, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to play this role," she wrote in an email last Wednesday informing the council of her decision.
Knodell said she had been "thinking for a while" about stepping down to make way for new leadership and to participate in meetings rather than facilitate the discussion, which is the president's role. "I’m ready to get back into the debate," she said.
✖So far, just one person has put his name forward: New North End Councilor Kurt Wright (R-Ward 4). A Democrat will likely run for the job as well, confirmed Councilor Chip Mason (D-Ward 5) in a text message to Seven Days. "We have not decided on which of us that will be," he texted.
Councilors will elect a new president at their April 2 meeting.
Wright, who served as council president from 2007 to 2009, said that his status as the sole Republican would allow him to run the council unencumbered by party pressure. "I think I am in a unique position, with no other allies from my party on the Council, to deliver balance, impartiality, fairness and equal treatment to every Councilor," he wrote in an email to councilors following Knodell's.
"I think it’s vital that the council president come from a party other than the mayor’s party," Knodell said. A longtime ally of Wright, she said she'll support the Republican.
For his part, Wright said he will call each member of the council to seek their support. He praised Knodell for her hard work and an apolitical approach to managing council business. "Jane ran an incredibly efficient meeting," he said.