The next mayor of Irvine will almost certainly be someone who has never served on the City Council.
Councilman Bill Vardoulis, who had been contemplating a run for mayor, said Monday he will bow out of city politics to spend more time with his business and family. Councilman Barry J. Hammond, who had gone as far as forming a fund-raising committee to run for mayor, has also decided he won't run because of the extra time the campaign and job would take.
Hammond said he will finish out the remaining two years of his council term. Vardoulis' term expires in November.
Vardoulis and Hammond join Mayor Sally Anne Sheridan as likely City Council incumbents who have said they are not interested in running for mayor. Sheridan said in January she would not seek reelection, citing her desire to devote more time to her real-estate business.
Unless City Council members Paula Werner or William A. (Art) Bloomer change their minds by Wednesday's filing deadline for the mayoral race, the mayor elected Nov. 3 will probably be someone never before elected to city office.
"It says something about the direct election of mayor" when no council member wants the job, Hammond said Monday. Hammond opposes having the mayor's position filled by popular vote.
Voters passed a charter amendment in 1987 requiring the mayor to be elected. Most Orange County mayors are selected by the council from among their members, the same process Irvine used until the 1988 election.
Although Irvine's mayor is not granted additional powers beyond chairing City Council meetings, the position is perceived as more powerful, critics of the process have said.
The perception of power brings more demands upon the mayor, City Manager Paul O. Brady Jr. said. The mayor ends up being invited to more civic functions, speaking engagements and gets more mail to answer, Brady said.
"The position is much more demanding than it was four years ago, for sure," Brady said.