Dennis O'Keefe won't seek re-election as St. John's mayor
O'Keefe will endorse Danny Breen for job; Andy Wells says decision just reaffirms status quo
Dennis O'Keefe says he won't be running for another term as mayor of St. John's.
O'Keefe, who's been in the job for nine years, ended the speculation about his political future in an announcement at City Hall Wednesday.
Polling numbers look good, O'Keefe told reporters, but the tipping point was his grandson saying "Pop, do you have to go to work all day?"
These smiling city councillors await the arrival of Mayor Dennis O'Keefe. "He's retiring," says one of them. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcnl?src=hash">#cbcnl</a> <a href="https://t.co/1nQeHCwLOQ">pic.twitter.com/1nQeHCwLOQ</a>—@TRobertst
O'Keefe said he will endorse Coun. Danny Breen, who announced earlier this year he would be seeking the mayor's chair.
"We're not going back to the old way," he said, in an apparant reference to former mayor Andy Wells, who officially announced his bid to return to municipal politics earlier this month.
Renee Sharpe has also announced that she would be running for mayor.
Breen happy with endorsement, Wells blasts status quo
Outside city hall, Breen said he's thankful for O'Keefe's support and for his years of service as mayor.
"It's a great accomplishment. I enjoyed working with him," said Breen.
"I think it's a positive step, whenever you get an endorsement from the current mayor, that's something you're very pleased with."
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Wells however, described O'Keefe's endorsement of Breen as a way to uphold the existing state of affairs at city hall.
"The questions that the citizens of St. John's have to ask themselves, is are they satisfied with the status quo?" he said.
"If you want change, if you want meaningful tax reductions, if you want something done about the lack of openness, the lack of transparency, the fundamental dishonesty that has permeated the business that is council — If those are your concerns, then I'm your man," said Wells.
"They've circled the wagons," Andy Wells says of Doc O'Keefe's decision to retire as <a href="https://twitter.com/CityofStJohns">@CityofStJohns</a> mayor and endorse Danny Breen. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcnl?src=hash">#cbcnl</a> <a href="https://t.co/JEXU2eQFnn">pic.twitter.com/JEXU2eQFnn</a>—@TRobertst
Retiring to spend more time with family
O'Keefe, in his early 70s, was a teacher for 30 years before being elected to council in 1997. He was deputy mayor in 2005, before running in a byelection for mayor in 2008. He's had the mayor's chair ever since.
"I believe I'm leaving the city in a better place," he said Wednesday, citing his accomplishments as bringing decorum back to city hall and building a new senior executive team.
"It's time for me to turn myself back to my family," he said.
Here's a clip that says it all ... <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcnl?src=hash">#cbcnl</a> <a href="https://t.co/ezu92j37n1">pic.twitter.com/ezu92j37n1</a>—@TRobertst