Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal announced April 11 at the 10th annual State of the City event that he is not seeking reelection, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal, right, received a standing ovation at the State of the City on April 11. (Dyana Bagby)

The decision means Shortal’s tenure of serving on the City Council since the city’s incorporation a decade ago will come to a close.

“On Dec. 31, 2019, Denny Shortal will retire as your mayor,” he said toward the end of his State of the City address to a surprised crowd.

“No!” shouted someone from the back, and Shortal joked to laughter he paid the person 5 bucks to shout that.

“It’s one of those things I’ve thought about for a long time,” he said. “If I was younger, all these other things … but everything piles up and I think maybe it’s just time.”

Before making announcement, Shortal choked up briefly when thanking his wife of 50 years, Meredy, for her support and her volunteer service to the city. He spoke lovingly of his three grown sons who now live with their families in Florida, Arizona and Illinois. And, he said, he wanted to be able to travel to visit them and his five grandchildren, ranging in age from college-age to 2-years-old.

He promised to work hard for Dunwoody until his last day.

“I’ve got eight months left and I will give you everything I’ve got,” he told the crowd of some 300 attending the State of the City.

Councilmember Terry Nall announced in February he is running for mayor, but Shortal said that did not play a role in his decision to not run for office again.

Hundreds of people attending the annual Dunwoody State of the City event gave Mayor Denis Shortal a standing ovation to show appreciation for his service to the city. He announced he was not seeking reelection. (Dyana Bagby)

A retired airline pilot and brigadier general in the Marines, Shortal was treasurer of the Dunwoody Yes group that organized and lobbied the General Assembly to give residents the opportunity to vote to break off from DeKalb County. Residents got the vote in 2008 and overwhelmingly approved the measure. Shortal was then elected to the inaugural City Council in December 2008.

He represented District 1 until 2015 when he decided to step down from his post and challenge incumbent Mike Davis for the mayor’s seat. Shortal defeated Davis and was sworn in as mayor in January 2016.

The city’s election is Nov. 5.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.