After 27 years on the Auburn City Council, Rich Wagner is calling it quits.
“I’m not running for re-election,” the City’s longest serving council member recently told the Auburn Reporter.
Wagner, a retired research engineer and a seven-term council member, acquired over the years a reputation for being financially conservative, a source of common sense ideas for improving City government, and for being the council’s institutional memory, capable of recalling the wording of past resolutions, ordinances and meetings to the tee and on the fly.
During his 27 years as a councilmember, Wagner established numerous relationships throughout the region. Relationships, he said in previous interviews, that resulted in cooperative arrangements that cut government costs, improved services and provided significant funding from the federal and state governments.
For decades, he led the effort to get Auburn its own community center, and was pleased to see it open last summer in Les Gove Park.
As he told the paper recently, he had been waiting to see whether his friend Larry Brown was going to run for his seat, and the subsequent affirmative on that likely helped him reach his decision.
Wagner and his wife, Kay, have lived in Auburn for 35 years, where they raised four children.
In addition to his role as a council member, Wagner is often seen at community events and parades in his fun-loving role of “The Popcorn Man,” pushing the bright red popcorn cart he built.