South Tucson Mayor Jennifer Eckstrom is resigning from the City Council.

Eckstrom, 36, states in a letter she sent to council members and city officials, dated Thursday, that her resignation is effective at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

"Since my first election in June 1995, I have been honored to serve the residents of the City of South Tucson for almost 18 years, both as a member of the City Council, and most recently as mayor," Eckstrom, a Democrat, states in the letter.

A council member is selected by the City Council to serve as mayor of the city.

Contacted Sunday, Eckstrom said, "I am moving on to get married." She said she needs time to plan for a November wedding.

She said her fiancé, Tony Gallego, proposed to her in San Francisco on New Year's Day. "We are very happy," she said.

Gallego works for the University of Arizona's Office of Instruction and Assessment as applications and Web development technologies manager.

"I will always be prideful that I dedicated a major portion of my lifetime to serving others, especially those within our community who are among the less fortunate," Eckstrom says in the resignation letter.

Eckstrom is the daughter of Dan Eckstrom, who was mayor of South Tucson for 15 years before he was appointed to the county Board of Supervisors in 1988. He retired from the board in 2003.

Jennifer Eckstrom, an executive assistant for Pima County Supervisor Ramón Valadez, said she is most recently proud of working with parents, teachers and community leaders to keep Ochoa and Mission View elementary schools open. As councilwoman, Eckstrom also worked to increase housing, improve public safety and offer more youth programs in the one-square-mile city.

"This was a surprise," Democratic Councilwoman Anita Romero said about the resignation. "I had no idea she was going to resign."

Councilman Paul Diaz, a Democrat, said he was not surprised by the announcement. "People in the community and in political circles knew of her engagement in January" and her wishes to plan her wedding, he said.

Eckstrom's resignation will leave one seat vacant on the seven-member council. Her term was to expire in 2015.

It was not immediately known how the seat would be filled.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at 573-4104 or