PHOENIX — The City Council's newest member gave notice last week that he was calling it quits after only three months in public service.

PHOENIX — The City Council's newest member gave notice last week that he was calling it quits after only three months in public service.

Elected via write-in during the May election, Councilman Terry Rombach said refocusing his priorities — his dad has health issues and he runs a business — and negative politics had prompted him to hand over the reins.

"The primary reason was, it honestly didn't take very long for me to figure out I didn't have the time to devote to this that you have to have to do things right," Rombach said.

"Probably the biggest thing is you've got to have the right mental attitude to participate in government the way it operates, and I guess I figured out I don't have enough patience to go through what it takes to play the game."

Rombach was one of a handful of coun cil members elected during a stint of turmoil in the city's government, when business owners and residents questioned the council's ethics and voiced frustration over budget decisions and other matters — including the Fern Valley interchange and the restructuring of the city's police department.

While Rombach, who co-owns Goofy's Furniture with his father, did not officially file to run for election in May, citizens approached him to run via write-in.

Norton business owner Wanda Long, who helped campaign for Rombach's election, said she was sad to see him leave but "grateful he stepped up to the plate" when asked by citizens.

"I think it was admirable because he wanted to serve and I think he did a good job for the short time he was there," Long said.

"It's just a shame he couldn't stay on longer but we all have our priorities we have to take care of. Things are getting better. I think there's better communication between the citizens and community than there's been in a long while."

Interim City Manager Joe Wrabek said he was sorry to see Rombach leave as well.

"One of things that has occupied the council's time has been controversy," he said. "Hopefully as things calm down and become more predictable, being a city council person won't look like such a big job."

Rombach agreed things were "definitely getting better." In recent weeks, residents Michael Stitt and Gary Reed were appointed to the council to replace president Lee Carrau and Mayor-turned-Councilwoman Vicki Bear, who resigned.

"I think they've got a good mix of people there that are going to pursue this as best they can," Rombach said. "I think people are starting to feel like they can trust their elected officials to look at all the options and make good decisions."

Wrabek said the opening for Rombach's position will be posted in local newsletters and around town. Mayor Carlos DeBritto will appoint the successful applicant to fill the seat for the remainder of the two-year term. DeBritto said last week that applicants for Bear's and Carrau's seats in recent months could call the city to request their application be considered again. For details, call 535-1955.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.