Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef will not be seeking re-election in 2013, he announced Wednesday night at a fundraiser in Haverstraw.
Vanderhoef, a Republican, has served almost two decades overseeing Rockland, first being elected in 1993. This year marks his 19th in the position.
County Executives serve four-year terms, and have a say in legislation affecting all of Rockland—from Palisades to Stony Point, from Nyack to Sloatsburg. Vanderhoef has about one year and three months remaining in his final term.
Vanderhoef's office released no official statement on the subject, and Vanderhoef told his staff just an hour before the event, surprising insiders.
"Vanderhoef is someone who served [Rockland] well," said Ron Levine, a spokesman for the county, Thursday morning. "Right now he is going to leave the county in the best shape he can leave it."
Levine said Vanderhoef lists among his accomplishments improvements to open space, residents' safety and health department progress.
"He's made sure government has a sense of compassion," Levine added.
Vanderhoef's announcement Wednesday is not linked to the county's ailing economy, according to Levine.
The executive's recent tenure has been marked by a fiscal crisis; a projected and troubled bond rating have plagued the government and residents in recent times.
Vanderhoef ran unsuccessfully for state senate in 2010, losing to sitting senator David Carlucci, a then-29-year-old Democrat. Carlucci won by about 6,000 votes.
Vanderhoef is 63-years-old and lives in Blauvelt.
Vanderhoef may return to his work as an attorney in the future, Levine said.
Republican Rockland legislator Ed Day told Patch Thursday he wishes Vanderhoef the best.
"He gave 19 years to the county," Day said. "That is not an insignificant commitment in life."
Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart said he was not surprised given the challenges facing government leaders.
"I know him and I respect him," Stewart said. "He has worked hard at that ofr a long time and has a lot to show for it. At the same time, it's a good thing to have a fresh set of eyes and some turnover. I look forward to working with whoever it is that wins the next election. The towns and the county need to work things out and get a better, more cooperative working relationship."
Looking forward, Day hopes Rockland voters will put the best man or woman for the job in the soon-to-be-vacant executive's seat.
"What people should be looking at... is what a candidate can bring to the table for residents and their families," Day said. "I encourage people to look at who fits that bill, who can lead."