Atherton Vice Mayor Mike Lempres is stepping down from his post, effective Oct. 15, following a family move to Paris.
Lempres, who was elected to the council in 2014, announced his resignation on Tuesday. His term on the five-member council was set to expire in November 2022.
"Unfortunately, it is neither appropriate nor possible for me to continue to serve on the Town Council when I am not living in Atherton," he wrote in an email to friends and neighbors on Tuesday. Lempres began his second term in 2018 when the council canceled its election by appointing the three incumbents, who were the only candidates to file, to serve new four-year terms.
He is taking his consulting work, in the financial tech industry, to Europe for the next year. He previously served as the chief legal and risk officer for Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange platform. He most recently worked at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. His daughter is also attending middle school in France.
"We're never going to have a chance to do something like this again," he said of the chance to move. "I love Atherton. It's a wonderful community. It's sad because there's a good possibility I would have been mayor next year. I'm missing that opportunity but gaining the opportunity for my family and myself."
Lempres, a fifth generation Bay Area resident, is selling his Atherton home. He won't rule out the possibility of moving back to town or seeking a seat on the council in the future.
"I will miss the community involvement," he said. He noted in this resignation letter that "the town government is in extremely capable hands. The town staff, led by City Manager George Rodericks, does a tremendous job. The direction of policy established by several city councils over the years sets the town up well to retain its unique character despite the rapid changes occurring throughout the Peninsula."
He is proud that the town is close to completing the civic center project after decades of planning. He's also proud of his pedestrian safety project — adding pedestrian lights when someone crosses the road — on El Camino Real while on the council.
"It got done in record time, which is three years," he laughed, noting that it can take a while to implement policies.
Lempres has seen one silver lining over the course of the pandemic: increased public involvement with meetings taking place over Zoom.
"I hope when things return to normal, we continue to have that teleconferencing capability," he said. "Suddenly instead of 2-3 people in attendance, we would have 20-30 online. From the resident standpoint, you didn't have to give up the evening to go down to the town hall and sit in an uncomfortable chair."
The council will look into filling Lempres' position at its meeting Wednesday, Oct. 20, said Rodericks in an email.