"My wife is retired, and we want to do more things together, and I've served for a long, long time," said Ward, 61.
Monday was also the first day candidates could file papers for the June 3 election, and Ward's announcement ended weeks of speculation about whether he would run.
By the end of the day Monday, five people including incumbent council members Barbara Halliday and Bill Quirk had officially filed papers for the June 3 election. Another incumbent, Councilman Olden Henson, is scheduled to do the same Wednesday.
There are five open seats on the seven-member council this year. Three incumbents are running, and two are not: Ward and Councilwoman Doris Rodriquez, who pledged to serve only two years after she was appointed to replace Councilman Matt Jimenez after his death in 2006.
Two other contenders, Linda Bennett and Steve Bristow, announced their intention to run in the fall and confirmed their commitment by filing papers Monday. Bennett is a psychotherapist, library commissioner and former planning commissioner. Bristow is a retired 9-1-1 dispatcher and member of the Hayward Personnel Commission.
A sixth person, unexpected contender George Peknik, briefly joined the pool of candidates by filing papers Monday morning.
In an interview, Peknik said he was "pretty sure" he lived in Hayward because his home on Carmel Court has a Hayward mailing address and is a short distance from Hayward High School. But the city clerk's office later checked the address and confirmed that the home was outside the city limits.
In order to run, Peknik would have to pack up and move into Hayward before the March 12 filing deadline.
That leaves five people running in a five-seat race. But Ward's decision to drop out is