Root leaves Phoenix council

PHOENIX — A year to the day he came on board, Phoenix City Councilman Chuck Root has resigned.

Root, who has lived in Phoenix some 20 years, resigned in a letter March 16, citing excessive obligations and a feeling that he had accomplished the things he set out to do in serving on the council.

"I think that the new city manager is doing a lot of good things for the city, and I'm very optimistic that most of our difficulties are being handled very professionally," Root said, noting that his resignation was effective "within the month," but that he would discuss the city's needs with Mayor Carlos DeBritto before leaving officially.

Root said he was recently asked by fellow Rotarians to serve as district governor, a time-consuming role that would not be compatible with the many meetings council members attend.

Appointed in March 2008, Root took a council seat at a time when the city faced a host of issues that included budget woes, outsourcing the city's fire protection and working with state officials on plans to rebuild the Fern Valley interchange on Interstate 5.

Root, 62, was appointed in March 2008 to replace Diane Stewart, who resigned just months after being appointed during an unsettled time for the city that included allegations of improper conduct by the city manager and recorder and the resignation of the police chief who made the allegations.

Voters elected Root in November 2008 to a four-year term that extends through December 2012.

Root has managed Rogue Valley Sewer Services for more than 20 years. He said his resignation came with much regret, but he felt the city was in "much better shape than last year."

Mayor DeBritto called Root a "very calming influence" for the city during a tumultuous time.

"I'm just sorry to see him go because he's got such experience in government," DeBritto said.

"But he can only do so much," DeBritto said. "I guess our loss is their gain."

DeBritto said applications will be accepted for the soon-to-be-vacant council seat. The council will appoint a community member to fill the position for the balance of the term.

During his year on the council, Root served as a member of the budget committee, emergency management committee, urban renewal committee, room tax promotion committee and the city's town hall committee.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.

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