The longest running elected official in San Francisco is calling it quits this year.
In a memo to his staff, Sheriff Michael Hennessey said Friday he would not be seeking reelection in November.
“Before matters become a public debate, I would like employees of the Sheriff’s Department to know that I do not intend to seek reelection in November of this year,” Hennessey wrote.
The news does not come as a complete surprise. Hennessey is in his eighth term as sheriff, a political eternity of 31 years. Others, such as San Francisco Board of Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, have been positioning for a run at the office.
“The election for the position of Sheriff will bring greater attention than usual to the Department, but I know that you will not allow any distraction to alter your professionalism and dedication to duty,” he writes. Hennessey fell one vote short of becoming interim mayor in January.
During his tenure, Hennessey stressed inmate rehabilitation and oversaw the construction of a new San Bruno jail. His latest cause was a fight against federal immigration officials and a mandatory fingerprinting program that identifies illegal immigrants.
Asked why Hennessey made the decision, longtime spokeswoman Eileen Hirst said, “He’s just had long and full career. It was just time.”