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Keith Resigns From Rye City Council; Replacements Step Up

RYE, N.Y. – Suzanna Keith’s resignation from the City Council, effective immediately, was announced at Wednesday's meeting by Rye City Mayor Doug French.

"She's accomplished more in 30 months than most people do in a full term," French said. "She's be a terrific asset, and she will be missed."

Keith, who announced in February she would be moving to Texas and stepping down from the council in June, has been absent from the council and public eye for the past three weeks. French and the council have said Keith’s absence is because of fatigue as she acclimates her family to their new life in Houston.

The City Charter permits the council to either appoint an interim council member or leave the seat vacant until the public elects a seventh member. Anyone appointed by the council would have to seek re-election in both November 2012 and 2013.

At first, the council appeared set to follow the city's tradition of appointing an interim member. However, the public have lobbied the council to reconsider.

"We've all been elected and the public decided on us, and I do think that's an important criteria, so I actually am in favor of leaving this open," council member Catherine Parker said.

But at the meeting, Julie Killian and Charmian Neary stepped forward and presented their candidacies to temporarily replace Keith.

Killian is a 20-year Rye resident who worked in finance for Citibank before retiring to raise her children. Killian has become active in the community, serving on the city's Finance Commission and in various capacities with the schools and other community organizations.

"I want to keep Rye the jewel that it is, while still moving forward to meet the challenges ahead," Killian said.

Neary, a proponent of leaving the seat open, said she would not seek re-election in the fall if appointed. Neary has 30 years of experience working in government and public life. She got her start working under Gov. Mario Cuomo in the 1980s and also worked under Mayor Rudy Guiliani in New York City. During her time in Rye, Neary has served on the Finance Committee and with the Friends of Rye Schools.

"I can start tomorrow, and if there's work to be done, and I can do it," Neary said. "I can't think of anyone in the room tonight better qualified, if you really need experience and a deep interest in Rye, than me."

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