Jim Leland has been burning the candle at three ends - working full-time in Fairfield, working on his MBA at Dominican University and serving on the Novato City Council. He decided something had to give.

So Leland, Novato's mayor since December, said he will not seek re-election in November.

"It's all too much. I can't do justice to all three," said Leland, 62. "I'm going to sit on the sidelines for a while and simplify my life."

The terms of Leland and Pat Eklund are expiring in November. Real estate broker Denise Athas, president of the Downtown Novato Business Association, filed a candidacy intent form with the city clerk on Dec. 9. Marketing consultant Eric Lucan, vice chairman of the city's parks commission, filed Jan. 22. Eklund, a four-time mayor, filed on Feb. 6.

The first day to officially declare candidacy for local elected positions is July 13. The filing period ends Aug. 12.

Leland has served on the council since 2005 after two years on the city's Planning Commission. A Novato resident since 2001, Leland is a principal planner for the county of Solano and works in Fairfield. The former real estate agent is working on a master's degree in business administration at Dominican.

"The program is on alternate weekends and takes up pretty much all day Saturdays and Sundays," he said. "Then there's work to do in between, which chews up the other weekends and sometimes on weeknights. There are so many city functions I would've liked to have attended, but I don't have time to meet with my constituents."

Fourteen-year council member Carole Dillon-Knutson, who acknowledged that Leland has been tough to reach at times, said he will be missed on the five-member civic body.

"I'm disappointed. He's been a fine addition because he brings a different perspective to many issues and I appreciate that," she said. "Service on the council always takes a great deal of time and energy, and sometimes it takes a toll on your family life and personal relationships. It's intense."

Leland, who lives in the San Marin neighborhood, said he will depart knowing that the council did its best managing the budget and thinking through some painful cuts.

"It's unfortunate we've had to make them, but generally I feel we've been ahead of the curve and we saw it coming," he said.


Read more Novato stories at the IJ's Novato section.

Contact Brent Ainsworth via e-mail at bainsworth@marinij.com