Tim Rood, a Piedmont City Councilman since 2014, announced he is leaving the council as of Dec. 31, as he is moving out of Piedmont shortly, which will make him ineligible to continue serving.
Rood, who has been renting a house in Piedmont since 2017, said he and his partner are buying a house in the Laurel District of Oakland. He said he wasn’t sure if he could ever be a homeowner in Piedmont, given the city’s housing prices, and that the Oakland opportunity presented itself a year before he would be termed out on the council after two four-year terms.
The 56-year-old Rood described himself Monday night as “the first openly queer person to hold elected office in Piedmont.” But his fellow council members, who were clearly stunned by Rood’s announcement at the end of Monday night’s meeting, had other descriptives for Rood — a colleague of unusual intellect, dedicated especially to matters of climate and environment (including Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan) and of social justice and housing equity.
Mayor Teddy Gray King said Rood had a firm grasp of Piedmont’s place in the regional scheme of things and showed it on his work on regional boards, and that events in their personal lives were often in parallel.
“I have to say, I’m holding back tears,” she said.
Vice Mayor Jen Cavenaugh said she was caught off-guard by Rood’s announcement, but wasn’t surprised, given Rood’s personal situation with home ownership.
“Your situation makes real what so many Piedmonters face on a daily basis,” said Cavenaugh, adding that even in a city with so many dedicated volunteers, that Rood’s shoes will be hard to fill.
Councilwoman Conna McCarthy, who had been present for most of Monday’s meeting via Zoom from out of town, dropped off from the meeting before Rood’s announcement. Councilwoman Betsy Smegal Andersen was absent from this meeting altogether.
City Administrator Sara Lillevand, who said she too hadn’t seen Rood’s announcement coming, said city staff had an affinity with him because he is a city staffer, too, a division manager th the City of San Jose’s Planning and Building Department.
State law requires that, after a resignation such as Rood’s in Piedmont, according to its individual charter, the council must, within 60 days from the date of the vacancy (Dec. 31, in this case), appoint a replacement to fill the unexpired remainder of that term. If that appointment isn’t made within that 60-day timeframe, a special election to fill that seat is triggered. The council didn’t discuss such processes Monday night, but figures to do so in January.
Rood told the council his new home has rooftop solar power, an edible garden and an electric vehicle charger, which his colleagues acknowledged couldn’t suit Rood better. He also said he would file an official letter of resignation shortly.
As for his successor, Rood said, “I’m confident the council will make a fine decision on (my) replacement, and that Piedmont voters will do the same in a year.”
Rood was first elected to the City Council in 2014, reelected in 2018, and served as Piedmont’s Vice Mayor from Dec. 7, 2020 to Dec. 6, 2021. Rood served as the Council’s liaison to the Park Commission, Planning Commission, and the Recreation Commission. He also represented Piedmont on the boards of the Alameda County Waste Management Authority and East Bay Community Energy. Long active in community affairs, Rood served on the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee and was the president of the Piedmont Swim Club before being elected.
Editor’s note: This post was updated on Dec. 21 to include his council and community roles and to reflect a correction to Piedmont’s process for filling a council seat vacancy. As a “charter” city, Piedmont’s process varies slightly from that of a “general law” city.
Contact Sam Richards at firstname.lastname@example.org