After 12 years on Columbus City Council, three years as its president, Michael Mentel will step down in January.

After 12 years on Columbus City Council, three years as its president, Michael Mentel will step down in January.

Citing work and family commitments, Mentel said he will not seek re-election in 2011, meaning council must find a replacement to fill the remainder of his term, which expires at the end of next year.

With Mentel's resignation, council will lose two of its most-senior members. Charleta Tavares, who also was appointed in January 1999, was elected to Ohio Senate's 15th District in fall. Her term also expires at the end of next year.

Councilman Andy Ginther said council has not yet outlined the replacement process but soon will be accepting applications.

"We'd like to have two folks in mind by January," Ginther said.

He called Mentel and Tavares' departures "a big loss."

Mentel, 48, said he found his public service largely rewarding.

"I've been very, very privileged," he said.

Yet, the toxic political environment both locally and nationally is a "dissuasion for people going into public service," he said.

Mentel, an attorney for a multi-state engineering company, wouldn't rule out a future run for public office but said it is not in his immediate plans.

"This sounds like a clich but I don't know what the future holds for me," he said.

He said working to find solutions to homelessness was among his greatest accomplishments and hopes current council members will continue with that mission.

"These people need us," he said.