“It has been a privilege to have worked with so many talented city colleagues over the years,” said Chris McKenzie, the retiring head of the League of California Cities.

LOS ANGELES — After 17 years as the head of the League of California Cities, Chris McKenzie has announced plans to retire.

McKenzie informed the League board of directors in late June that he intends to retire from the post later this year.

The League announced McKenzie's retirement plan Tuesday.

The board is conducting a nationwide recruitment for his successor, and the initial advertisement of the availability of the position has just occurred, according to the League.

"One of my greatest joys has been helping cities focus on their common interests, assisting the leaders of the League in setting strategic goals each year, and working with my colleagues and city officials to advance and achieve them," McKenzie said in a statement. "It has been a privilege to have worked with so many talented city colleagues over the years."

McKenzie plans to stay on as executive director until after the league's annual conference this October in Long Beach.

McKenzie is only the sixth executive director of the private nonprofit corporation founded in 1898 that advocates for cities before the state legislature. The league also provides training and education services to city officials.

Born and raised in St. Louis, McKenzie holds a masters' degree in urban planning as well as a law degree. His over 30-year career includes stints as a local and state government administrator and attorney as well as statewide association work. He reports to the 52-member League board of directors, comprised of city officials from all regions of the state.

The league's board has approved the retention of an executive recruitment firm and the formation of a special board search committee to assist in recruiting and hiring a qualified successor.

"I know city officials throughout California join us in wishing Chris the best in this next stage of his life," League President Dennis Michael, mayor of Rancho Cucamonga, said in a statement. "He has been a true friend and outstanding leader of our organization."

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