COLUMBIA - Columbia Mayor Brian Treece announced he will not run for reelection next April during a community briefing Friday.
"It's not so much about the money or lack thereof, it's about the level of responsibility and the burden," Treece said. "The last 18 months have been no easy decisions. There's no playbook on handling a pandemic. That takes its toll."
Mayor Treece is in his second term as Columbia's mayor. He said he will continue to work for the next six months, specifically focusing in on mental health, public safety and technology.
Treece said the "time is now" to get projects started for the city.
"We're never gonna finish anything if we don't get started," Treece said. "I don't want at the end of the next three years to say, 'well we were going to build a homeless shelter' or 'we talked about a rapid access treatment center.' I think people are tired of that. They want government to act and act in the best interest of the community it serves."
He mentioned the challenges of being mayor during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also said he wanted to announce his decision now so candidates and the community have the information they need.
"I have enjoyed every moment of being your mayor," Treece said during the community briefing.
"Filing opens in about 5 weeks," Treece said. "I wanted to give the next mayor the opportunity to organize their vision, to organize their campaign."
The announcement comes as City Manager John Glascock is set to retire in January.
Treece defeated Skip Walther by 773 votes to become Columbia's third mayor in over 20 years, in April 2016. At the time of swearing in, Treece called himself a "fiscal conservative." He said his platforms included "working to strengthen and protect neighborhoods, improve the city's infrastructure and public safety structures and ensure the transparent and responsible use of tax-payer dollars."
He was reelected in 2019 after mayoral candidate Chris Kelly conceded. At the time when Kelly conceded, Treece led by over 3,000 votes.
Before Treece took the role in 2016, he served as chairman of he first Downtown Columbia Leadership Council. From 2008 to 2013, he served as chairman of the city of Columbia's Historic Preservation Commission.
Columbia City Council member Betsy Peters says she hopes the next mayor will embrace the community as Treece has.
"I hope they continue the stability that Brian has brought to the job- respect for the constituents. He's always very good, or at least I think he's very good about listening to the constituents, listening to the people that come to council, try to do the best he can for the citizens of Columbia."