Saturday, July 20, 2024

City councillor Tim Toomey, seen in 2010.

City councillor Tim Toomey said Monday that he is retiring from public service after more than 35 years.

Though he was cagey when asked face to face about a next run – after a council meeting that lasted well over five hours – that was apparently only because he had a statement prepared to appear late on the Cambridge Civic Journal Forum, run by longtime city politics watcher Robert Winters.

“It is with much gratitude and a tinge of sadness that I announce I will not be a candidate for reelection,” Toomey said in the prepared statement. “While I will not be on the City Council in 2022, this is not goodbye. As always, I will continue to be active in our community.”

Among the nine councillors, Toomey is the second-to-last to declare his intentions for when nominating papers become available with the start of July; E. Denise Simmons, after Toomey the longest-serving councillor, is now the last whose plans remain a mystery. Simmons was first elected to the council in 2001.

Still, it is now guaranteed that at least one challenger will be elected to the council, filling Toomey’s seat.

Toomey, 68, was first elected in November 1985 balloting to the School Committee. He served two terms and was elected to the City Council for the first time in 1989, reelected reliably with a strong record of constituent services particularly for East Cambridge, his lifelong neighborhood. He is a resident of Sixth Street.

He also worked for 24 years as state representative in the 26th Middlesex House District serving East Cambridge and East Somerville, sometimes having to juggle his time between Sullivan Chamber at City Hall and the State House on Boston’s Beacon Hill. In September 2016 he was denied a 13th term in a primary defeat to now state Rep. Mike Connolly.

Asked Monday night whether he’d decided on another run, Toomey dissembled, shrugging that he was keeping his options open and “we’ll see.” Asked about the several people remarking on the closing of his offices at 550 Cambridge St., East Cambridge, he said his offices were still open.

But within the hour, his statement was live online, where he expressed sadness at “stepping down from a job that I love” but gratitude to the people who voted for him as well as to campaign volunteers and legislative aides, family members, his council colleagues and to “the city managers and city staff who have worked with me to make Cambridge a caring community while ensuring fiscal stability.”

“Feel free to stop me on the street to express your thoughts and concerns for our city, or just to say hello,” Toomey said.

The full statement is here.