LONG BEACH - Long Beach City Councilor Don Maxson surprised city administrator Nabiel Shawa, mayor Dale Jacobson and the city council on Monday with a letter of resignation, which takes effect March 3.
"I didn't look for it," said Shawa. "Don's been a good council member, a good team player and he will be missed."
Accord-ing to Maxson, both in the letter and in a Tuesday morning interview, his departure from the city council is based on personal reasons.
"I completely enjoyed being on the council," he said. "It was a real learning experience for me."
Maxson said he enjoyed the camaraderie with the other councilors, the mayor and the staff during his time as a city councilor, but added that he has no plans to go back into politics any time in the near future.
According to Long Beach Assistant City Administrator Dave Glasson, Maxson was appointed in June 1998 when city councilor Fred Rutherford resigned due to health reasons. In the fall of 1999, Maxson ran for the post and won. This term, which began in early 2000, would have run through 2003.
The city council has to make a decision on appointing Maxson's replacement within 30 days. If this decision can't be reached within that time frame, then this authority defers to the mayor.
Shawa said there is no requirement in any statute that the city council advertise or interview for Maxson's replacement. Typically this is what has been done in the past, but the city council may utilize resumes it currently has on file. Shawa said at Monday night's city council meeting it will probably be a couple days until the council decides how to handle the appointment.
"So, the city council is really in the driver's seat on how they would like to handle the process," said Shawa.
The normal length of a Long Beach city councilor's term is four years, but not all five council members go up for re-election at the same time.
In fall 2003, for instance, Ralph Moore and Gordon Zuern are up for re-election, as was Maxson prior to his resignation this week. In fall 2005, two other councilors, Gary Luthe and Mike Unruh are up for re-election.