Mayor Rebecca Hutchins announced her resignation at Monday night’s city council meeting, effective that evening.
Mrs. Hutchins, who took over last fall following the death of her husband, long-time mayor B.W. Hutchins, said she was resigning because she is moving out of the city limits.
Mrs. Hutchins has served on the city council since 1990, several years before her husband became mayor. Following his death in April, 2007, she resigned her council seat a few months later to seek the office of mayor. Mrs. Hutchins said at the time that she hoped to be able to implement some of her husband’s plans for the city.
Mrs. Hutchins said, that at the advice of her daughter, she is moving into a home near Hull that will be easier and less expensive for her to maintain. State law prevents her from serving as mayor since she will no longer live inside the city.
“I hope I have served you well,” Hutchins told the council. “My heart will always be with you and with Hull.”
She also pledged her assistance and her prayers for the city.
New council member Paul Cook praised Mayor Hutchins, saying he had decided to join the council after attending a meeting and meeting her. “You inspired me,” he said. “Thank you for welcoming me and my family.”
Mayor pro tem Paul Elkins will preside over meetings until a new mayor is elected to the current remaining term, which will expire on Dec. 31, 2009.
City attorney Pat Graham explained that any current council member who might wish to seek the mayor’s job must first resign their position on the council. Whoever is selected as the city’s next mayor will take over in November, following verification of the election.
The council voted to call for a special election for the mayorship, to be held on Nov. 4; the same day as the general election. Two other council seats will also be up for grabs in the November election.
Councilman Wayne Melton seat will be up, as will the council seat currently held by Becky Elkins. Melton was appointed earlier this year by the council to fill Mrs. Hutchins remaining term.
The council set qualifying dates for council seats for Aug. 26, 27, and 28 from 9 am. to noon at Hull city hall. Qualifying fees are $19.50.
The council set qualifying dates for the mayor’s position for Sept. 23, 24 and 25, from 9 a.m. to noon, also at city hall. The qualifying fee for the mayor’s position is $37.50.
Councilman Paul Cook told the council that he had cancelled a scheduled meeting with Burk Walker of the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center to tour the city and city hall. Cook had scheduled the meeting in order to see what grants might be available for improvements to the city and to the city hall building, which is now housed in the old fire department. He told the council that he cancelled the meeting when he discovered that he could not gain access to city hall that day.
Councilwoman Becky Elkins then made a motion that the council create a policy that council members bring their ideas to the table for the council to discuss before taking action on such ideas.
The council voted 3-1 to implement the policy, with Cook providing the “no” vote.
Cook said he had merely wanted to gather information from the RDC to bring to the council at the next meeting.