Paso Robles Mayor Duane Picanco won’t seek re-election as mayor in November but plans to run as a councilman instead.
“It’s basically the commitment — it’s a lot of time, and there are family things I’ve had to miss,” Picanco told The Tribune about his five two-year terms as mayor.
Furthermore, the city’s next mayor will serve for twice as long. Paso Robles voters agreed in 2012 to extend the mayor’s term to four years starting this year.
“I would have gone for another two-year term (as mayor), but not four years,” Picanco said.
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Picanco and his wife have a son, daughter and five grandchildren that they want to spend more time with.
Mayor Pro Tem Ed Steinbeck made a similar announcement this week, stating he won't seek re-election in order to focus more on his real estate business.
In November, three seats on the five-member City Council will be up for grabs -— two for council and one for mayor. All the seats carry four-year terms. The incumbents in those seats are Picanco, Steinbeck and Councilman John Hamon.
July 14 is the first day candidates can officially file their nomination papers with the city.
Candidates have been able to file intent-to-run papers earlier, though. So far, Councilman Steve Martin has indicated he intends to run for the mayoral seat, while resident Jim Reed and Planning Commissioner Steve Gregory have indicated they’ll run for council seats.
Picanco said that while he’d still like to lead the city through several issues, including resolving the North County’s dwindling groundwater supply and helping the city recover after years of recession-era cutbacks, being mayor requires returning more public calls and emails and attending more community events than council members.
“And I still have one vote whether I’m a councilman or a mayor,” he said. “A lot of people don’t realize that. They think the mayor has a magic wand.”
Steinbeck expressed similar sentiments, saying he doesn’t have the time it takes to devote to being a councilman and work his day job.
“The council position requires lots of time for reading, study, contemplation, discussion with constituents and attendance at meetings and events,” he said in a news release. “I encourage whatever future council may be elected to study hard, learn the process and listen to others.”
Martin is running for the mayor seat mid-term, meaning two years will remain on his current council term if he's elected. The newly seated council could then hold a special election or appoint a replacement to serve in his spot through 2016.
Picanco told The Tribune on Thursday that he’s not endorsing any particular candidate.
Hamon couldn’t be reached Thursday.