Karen Meinzen McEnerny
Karen Meinzen McEnerny

Sandy Springs City Councilwoman Karen Meinzen McEnerny, District 6, has announced she will not run for mayor in the Nov. 5 municipal elections.

McEnerny sent an email to her constituents on July 1, affirming her decision to leave the council and saying she will make no endorsements of candidates to replace her.

Speaking in a phone interview, McEnerny said she didn’t have the energy the mayor’s job requires.

“We were blessed to have a mayor that was willing and able to devote that type of commitment to it,” McEnerny said. “I have a lot of other interests that I’ve put aside as I have dealt with my council responsibilities.”

McEnerny is wrapping up her second council term on council and has said she will not seek a third term. She was a member of the first city council that began after the city incorporated in 2005. She said the council needed a change.

“I didn’t look forward to serving on a council that doesn’t have any new blood on it,” she said. “I would’ve remained frustrated with moving my agenda forward in that environment.”

McEnerny said she knew of five candidates who plan to run to succeed her in District 6, and that she will not be making any endorsements. So far, Andy Bauman, co-founder of the Sandy Springs Farmers Market, has announced he will run for the council seat in District 6.

Here are excerpts from McEnerny’s letter to her constituents:

Neighbors, Friends and Constituents

I am leaving public office at the expiration of my second 4 year term as your city councilwoman, Dec. 31, 2013.  That is old news.  I shared that with you nine months ago so I could encourage you to consider running for this seat and the honor and public service commitment and responsibilities that accompany it.    I believed then and do now that term limits both in local government thru and up to the US Congress, are good for our country as they foster new ideas, relationships and alliances.   They also bust up entrenched politicians who rely on their blocks of power to avoid their public service obligations of being 1) accountable to their citizens; 2) implementing legislation based on their understanding and needs of their electorate and 3) working cooperatively but independently on each issue to achieve balanced legislation.

I am pleased to say I know of five individuals who have expressed their commitment to run for your seat (not my seat!) representing District 6 on City Council.     That will give you a real choice.   I will not be endorsing any of these candidates, however worthy they may be,   as I believe it presumptuous of me to endorse what will be your choice.   I do offer my observations though to elect someone who can best achieve items Number 1 thru 3 above as those are the hallmarks of an outstanding public servant, in my view.

Of course character, values and intellect are the troika that harnesses best these key attributes of an outstanding elected official.

Finally, I want to thank you for allowing me to serve you these past 7 1/2 years.   With your support and along with  the other elected officials on your council , we have achieved  more than was expected but not as much in key areas as I would have liked.  But with the newly elected  officials  for the 2014-2018  council , and beyond  you have the ability to continue to make a difference by staying engaged, voting , attending council meetings and most of all not giving up your ideals  to a “majority.”    You make this city great…   not the elected officials.

Please consider running for office in the future.  I do not know to whom to attribute this quote “Evil prevails when good people do nothing,” but it applies in all elections.   (Be clear I am not saying we have any evil elected officials,  but  like in all elected bodies, we do have  some who  aren’t working as hard as I believe they need to stay in touch with your concerns ;  work for you to address those;   and  advance your agenda. …)

Here is the bottom line…  I will not be running for mayor, as so many of you have encouraged me.   My duties and the honor you bestowed on me will be laid down Dec. 31, 2013.    This decision has wracked me for nine months.  My father’s Alma Mater, West Point’s motto, was “duty, honor, and country. “   Mine has been duty, honor, and my beloved city of Sandy Springs.  My polling suggested over 75 percent of you city-wide are open to other candidates other than the announced one and that the public’s endorsement obtained by that individual was not a factor with 65 percent of those polled.  So that race is wide open and I encourage you to consider carefully a run for the mayor’s office.

As a dear friend brought into my deliberations counseled, “either decision, to run for mayor or not, will be a good one for you.”   I agree with that and  I remain dedicated to you, our city and our ideals and will continue  with my commitments  in the many volunteer activities  in which am engaged  including  The Big Trees Forest Preserve , The Sandy Springs Society, Sandy Springs  Historic Preservation Society , Georgia  Native Plant Society , Trees Sandy Springs ; St. James Anglican Church , the Austin Healy Club of Atlanta , as well as my many garden , and genealogical interests.

Thank you again.   I remain your advocate and encourage you to stay in touch on issues of importance to you and your family….beyond the expiration of my council term…    my best.

Karen Meinzen McEnerny
City Council, District 6

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com