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After 12 years, including two terms as mayor, City Councilman Gary Skrel has decided not to seek a fourth term. In this archive photo, Skrel is visiting with family and friends on election night at McCovey's Restaurant in Walnut Creek on Tuesday, November 4, 2008. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Staff)

WALNUT CREEK -- After 12 years, including two terms as mayor, City Councilman Gary Skrel has decided not to seek a fourth term.

On the last day he had to file to run for re-election in November, Skrel said in an e-mailed statement that while having been extremely fortunate to have served Walnut Creek, he has decided to "step aside and encourage others to experience the honor of being a council member for the City of Walnut Creek."

Skrel goes on to say he will remain active in the community. Skrel has said for months that he struggled with whether or not to run again.

Because he is not running, the filing deadline for all non-incumbents is extended until Aug. 15.

So far, five people have filed to run for the three four-year seats; Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Barry Grove, Loella Haskew, a certified public accountant, incumbent Kish Rajan, incumbent Bob Simmons and local businessman Justin Wedel.

Skrel's departure signified the loss of the council's veteran member.

"Looking back at our achievements, I am forever grateful to have served in this capacity and participated in our city's progress," he said in the statement.

Skrel's statement in its entirety:

"I feel extremely fortunate to have been selected by the citizens of Walnut Creek for the past 12 years to serve as a council member. Looking back at our achievements, I am forever grateful to have served in this capacity and participated in our City's progress.

"After months of assessing my future plans and options, I have decided not to seek re-election. It is time for me to step aside and encourage others to experience the honor of being a council member for the City of Walnut Creek. Stepping aside should not be interpreted as going away. As a result of my caring for and commitment to our City, I will continue to remain very active in the community, region and State, using my combined professional and council experience to provide leadership, vision and wisdom on the important issues that lie ahead.

"I am confident that the City's future policy makers will build upon our past successes. In partnership with an engaged community and talented City staff, they have a great opportunity to maintain the high quality of life we enjoy in one of California's best cities to live, work and play."

Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.