A special called meeting of the Cumberland City Council failed to materialize Tuesday when Mayor Carl Hatfield changed his mind about resigning.
Previous reports stated Hatfield turned in a resignation at city hall the day after council passed a motion requesting his resignation last week.
According to Hatfield, his resignation would not have been effective until the next council meeting, but calls from citizens and city employees caused him to re-think his decision.
“I had so many people calling and telling me that I shouldn’t resign,” said Hatfield. “They said they had elected me to this office and that they would be the ones to tell me to leave if they wanted me to leave come election time.”
Hatfield said it was the people that put him in office, not the council members.
“There’s five council members that wanted me gone,” said Hatfield. “I probably irritated a couple or three of them (council members) by removing some family members from office. But anything I did was justified and completely within the law and within reason.”
Hatfield said he had decided to resign because of tensions with the council.
“I think we need a better program to instill what a council member’s role and what the mayor’s role is,” said Hatfield. “I think they got confused and act more like a coalition form of government where everybody has the same responsibility and authority. In the council/mayor form of government, the mayor has their role and the council has their role and they have to work together. They can’t be constantly battling each other.”
Hatfield said he thinks the council requested his resignation due to personal reasons.
“I don’t think it’s anything to do with city business,” said Hatfield. “The city’s in better shape now than it has been in years. That’s proven by the records. It’s more of a personal issue.”
Hatfield said he and the council must learn to work together.
“We’re just going to destroy ourselves if we don’t,” said Hatfield. “I’m willing to work with them. If they’ll let me do my job, I’ll let them do their job.”
Council member David Dixon said he believes the council’s request for Hatfield’s resignation was the correct thing to do.
“I still stand by my vote for the mayor to resign,” said Dixon. “I feel like this city will sink back down into the slump that we’ve seen over the past several months unless something is done to rectify the situation. I’ve spoken to several citizens in the city of Cumberland that stand by the council’s request for the mayor to resign.”
Dixon said Hatfield won the mayor’s office by about 30 votes.
“I would like to see the city move forward, and that’s not going to happen until something’s done with the administration,” said Dixon.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext.113, email@example.com