Sonoma City Councilmember Rachel Hundley announced Monday that she will give up her seat in the middle of her second term, resigning effective January 31, 2021. Hundley, 37, shared her pride, personal challenges, and frustration with her peers in a “bittersweet announcement” video posted Monday to her Facebook page.
“Unfortunately, the city council has continued down a path of reckless and, at times, disturbing actions to settle personal scores, grant favors and elevate only themselves,” Hundley said. “I don’t have the stomach for it anymore.”
To fill the empty seat, the city will likely appoint someone to serve until the 2022 election. As the vice mayor, Hundley was in line to become the mayor for a one-year term, as of the December 7 meeting. Evident of the friction on the council, Amy Harrington said earlier that day she would instead nominate Logan Harvey to continue as mayor for another year. That was confirmed by the full council.
Hundley’s term as mayor, in 2017, including the city and community response to the October wildfires, “was one of the greatest honors of my life so far.”
The ensuing years have been a personal and professional challenge, Hundley said, as the demands of her job as a public law attorney and her responsibilities as an unpaid councilmember have become untenable.
“It has been a difficult year for the city as well. And although so many of us have pulled together, it saddens me to admit that our city council has only managed to grow further apart,” she said. “It seems the members of our city council have forgotten their purpose of service to the community and the responsibility we have to keep pushing forward to becoming a better city.”
The decision did not come lightly or quickly, she said. “Several months ago, I allowed myself to consider the possibility that it was time for my service on our city council to end so that someone else’s may begin.”
The breaking point came in August when Hundley accused her four fellow councilmembers of holding an illegal meeting “to discuss furloughing the city manager in the middle of a pandemic. When I couldn’t get a response from our mayor or city attorney, I delivered a cease and desist letter to the city.”
The letter was intended as a wake-up call to her colleagues. “My hope was that they’d realize that they let their egos lead them into an irresponsible and damaging place. Unfortunately, the city council has continued down a path of reckless and, at times, disturbing actions.”
Hundley said she will remain in Sonoma, and is excited to be able to devote more time and energy to her family and her job.
“I look forward to continuing this steady upward climb toward a brighter future,” she said. “But it will be in my capacity as a resident of our city rather than as your elected representative.”