Clearwater, certainly one of central Florida’s vacationer meccas, often turns into busier at the moment of yr, throughout spring break.
However the metropolis authorities was simply rocked by one thing really out of the peculiar.
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The mayor turned in his resignation throughout a tense finances assembly. He mentioned he made the fast choice because of considerations over the path his colleagues have been taking with metropolis funds.
Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard referred to as for a five-minute recess Monday and made the announcement afterward. Earlier than the recess, the council had been discussing learn how to pay for a $250 million shortfall for about 30 initiatives, the Tampa Bay Occasions reported.
The Occasions wrote that Hibbard “packed his briefcase” on the spot.
Hibbard had pushed again towards constructing a brand new metropolis corridor and municipal providers complicated for $90 million, together with a reported $60 million in deficit spending.
Within the assembly, Hibbard was reportedly the solely one to push again towards the brand new constructing’s $90 million price ticket.
All three council members mentioned it was their high precedence for the town of Clearwater, which has a inhabitants of about 116,000 individuals and is 23 miles from Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
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Hibbard referred to as his resignation one of many hardest choices he’s needed to make.
“I’m not a quitter, but I’m not the right leader for this council anymore and I’m concerned where the city is going, because this is simple math and we’re not doing very well on the test,” Hibbard reportedly mentioned.
“I love Clearwater and I love some of the things that we’ve gotten done. I think [an upcoming parks project] is going to be phenomenal. I think [Jennifer Poirrier] is going to do a great job as city manager, but in good conscience for my family, for my own health and other things, I can’t remain the mayor.”
Council member Kathleen Beckman’s mouth was agape as Hibbard spoke.
Beckman, the vice mayor, then reconvened the finances workshop and urged her colleagues to hold on regardless of being “shell-shocked,” the Occasions reported.
One other council member, Lina Teixeira, reportedly put her face in her arms.
One particular person on the council tried to calm the state of affairs.
“I don’t want anybody freaking out right now about this,” council member David Allbritton reportedly mentioned. “We’ve got enough people up here to make the decisions and keep everything on track, and that’s what we plan to do today.”
In Clearwater, the mayor is a member of the town council. In different phrases, the mayor extra resembles a council president than a chief government. The manager duties go to the town supervisor.
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After leaving the assembly, Hibbard instructed the Occasions he made the choice on the spot.
He referred to as his spouse, Teresa. She requested whether or not he may reside with the choice. “I’m not going to have a choice,” he instructed the newspaper when requested the identical query.
“This is so out of character for me … I don’t do things lightly,” Hibbard mentioned. “I don’t want to criticize the council, but it’s an overall vision for where the city is going and being fiscally responsible. We talk about affordability and everything else, but we’re not doing the things that continue to keep a cap on costs.”
Hibbard was within the final yr of his four-year time period, and had already introduced he wouldn’t search reelection. He had beforehand served as mayor from 2004 to 2012, and took workplace once more in March 2020, simply because the pandemic was starting.
He appeared very conscious of the size of his time period. The Occasions reported that his workplace included a digital clock with a countdown to the tip of his time period.
After the finances assembly, the town’s lawyer instructed the council he wished to talk with Hibbard to verify his intentions earlier than they mentioned changing him.
By that point, Hibbard had already cleared out his workplace.
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Hibbard, a Republican, works as a monetary advisor in downtown Clearwater, in accordance with his LinkedIn account.
He instructed a Fox affiliate that he’d love to do wealth administration full-time once more, whereas utilizing his free time to play extra golf.
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