UPDATE: Burien City Councilmember Kathy Keene Announces Resignation
Burien City Councilwoman Kathy Keene announced at Monday night’s meeting (Sept. 27) that she will resign effective Dec. 31 then move to Florida next year.
Keene, who is also a Water District 20 commissioner, said she turned 60 this year and “I don’t want it written on my headstone, ‘She was going to retire in Florida but never did.’”
Two weeks ago, while visiting the state, “I made an absolutely ridiculous offer on a house – and they accepted,” she told her fellow council members. “So I’m on to Florida, guys!”
Noting the city’s annexation of half of the North Highline unincorporated area on April 1, Keene added, “I would really like to see that whomever you choose to replace me is from North Burien.
She also encouraged North Burien residents to apply for her soon-to-be-vacant council seat.
One North Burien resident who is already interested is Greg Duff, who was president of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council until he became a city resident with annexation.
“Yes, definitely,” Duff said when asked by The B-Town Blog if he will seek appointment to Keene’s seat. He has been planning to run for another council position next year.
Keene was elected to city council Position 6 in November 2007. Her term expires at the end of 2011.
Duff said “it’s an opportunity for a representative from North Highline to get on the council sooner. This makes it possible to get appointed now,” then run for a full term next year.
In the meantime, he said he will check out the process for appointing a replacement for Keene. City Manager Mike Martin told council members he will advise them about that process at their Oct. 4 meeting.
Keene moved to Burien when she was hired by Boeing. Before that she spent two years as a long-haul driver. She retired from Boeing in 2005 to make and sell jewelry – and to become more involved in the community.
In fact, Keene was already active in community life. She was elected a Water District 20 commissioner in 1991 – a position she still holds – and Gov. Gregoire appointed her to the Public Works Trust Fund board of directors in 2005, where she still serves.
She is secretary of the Washington Association of Sewer and Water Districts, a member of the Public Issues Committee of the Suburban Cities Association and a member of the Association of Washington Cities’ Legislative Committee.
In making her announcement, Keene began, “Thank you to everybody. This has been a great experience. But I turned 60 this year. I’m my grandmother’s age, for crying out loud.”
Her friend Cherisse Luxa, a long-time Burien activist, died of cancer earlier this year, and the husband of a friend of hers recently “went into the hospital and never came out.”
These events, she said, convinced her it’s time to act on her dream. “I’m going to Florida and I’m going to have fun.”
“We will definitely miss you,” Mayor Joan McGilton told her.
And, said Deputy Mayor Rose Clark, “”You have served our community well on many levels.”