Stanwood Mayor Leonard Kelley

Stanwood Mayor Leonard Kelley speaks at the State of City event on Jan. 9, 2020.

Leonard Kelley has resigned as Stanwood mayor.

Kelley, who had served as mayor since 2013, cited health issues in his resignation letter sent to Stanwood City Administrator Jennifer Ferguson late Sunday night. The resignation was effective 9 a.m. Monday, July 6.

“Due to health concerns and at the advice of my physician I find it necessary to resign from my position as mayor,” Kelley wrote. “This decision comes with a heavy heart, but I am grateful for the time I got to serve the city of Stanwood.”

Kelley was born in California, where he started working with YMCA. Eventually, he transferred to Washington as a program director in 1987. He later took a job with UPS, discovering Stanwood by delivering packages to the area.

After moving to Stanwood, he served as a councilman before running for mayor in 2013 and again in 2017. Kelley, himself a musician, was a driving force in bringing more events to Stanwood, such as starting the Summer Concert Series in 2014. He also served on the board of directors for Community Transit, including a stint as chairman.

“The next step is for the Council to start the process of filling the vacancy,” Ferguson said.

The Stanwood City Council will meet 7 p.m. Thursday to decide exactly how to replace Kelley, whose term expires Dec. 31, 2021. 

Ferguson said the Council has several options to choose from, such as picking a current councilmember to fill the remainder of Kelley’s term or initiating an application process to appoint a community member to fill the seat.

If the Council decides to pick a current councilmember to become mayor, then the Council will need to appoint someone from the community to fill that councilmember's seat.

See for a link to watch the online meeting Thursday.

Contact reporter Evan Caldwell at and follow him on Twitter @Evan_SCN for updates throughout the week and on Instagram @evancaldwell.scn for more photos.

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