LAFAYETTE -- After more than a decade as a city council member, Mayor Carol Federighi is stepping away from public office to spend time with her family.
"I really wanted a little more personal time," said Federighi about her decision not to seek re-election in November.
She announced her plans to retire from the council at a meeting July 9.
Her decision comes after more than three decades of public service, including six years on the Lafayette Planning Commission and three terms as mayor. But Federighi, who has lived in Lafayette for 35 years, said she still plans on being active in her community.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed being on the council," she said. "I intend to still be very much around."
Staying involved seems to come naturally to the councilwoman who served on San Leandro's human resources committee before beginning her political career in Lafayette in the 1980s. She joined the city planning commission in 1993 and was elected to the city council six years later. In 2003, she began her first term as mayor, and the second followed in 2007. She is serving her third term this year.
An Oregon native, Federighi cut her political teeth on student government and says public service is in her blood.
"I've always been interested in participating in my community and helping to find solutions to problems in places where I live," she said.
Some of the highlights of her time on the council include helping
The council has also made some strides in finding additional parking downtown, the mayor said, but progress has been slower than she wished. Dealing with competing values has also been challenging Federighi said, explaining that hearings can become contentious when passions run high on different sides.
"But we are very fortunate here in Lafayette that we can agree to disagree," she added. "People are respectful of the process."
Councilman Don Tatzin said Federighi was an advocate for public parking in the city's congested downtown and pointed out other contributions including improving relations between the council and Lafayette's various commissions and committees, and her support of the city's General Plan. He also praised her and other council members' efforts to keep expenses low, which he says has allowed the city to keep a AAA bond rating and maintain a surplus.
"She brought a level of fiscal prudence that was really good," Tatzin said.
While she may be ending her run on the council, Federighi is still working as a juvenile dependency attorney, helping children who have been abused or neglected. That, she says, takes a tremendous amount of her time.
And although she resigned from a second job providing legal assistance for seniors, she says that experience has made her acutely aware of the problems faced by the elderly. "I have a particular interest in doing what we can with our limited funds for seniors," she said.
The city is accepting nominations for Federighi's council seat until Aug. 10. Two other council seats are also up for election.