WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (4/3/13) - After serving as mayor of Sebree for 25 years between 1982 and 2013, Sebree Mayor Ron Todd tender his resignation to the city council at Monday night’s council meeting.
Prior to the meeting we sat down in his office for a chat. Todd looked fondly back on his years as mayor, and looked at his pending retirement from the position with more than a little sadness.
“The reason I’m giving for resigning is strictly personal,” Todd said. “I don’t want to say anything more than that about it.”
Over the last few months Todd’s seven month absence from Council meetings has made headlines and drawn the attention of Sebree residents. The absences have been questioned publicly by various council members, who even went so far as request city attorney Darin Luck to research attendance policies. The only answer Luck provided was a private letter to council members and a public statement that the letter was protected by state law.
“I don’t want my legacy to be that I didn’t attend council meetings,” Todd said. “I do not feel like I neglected my duties at all. I missed seven meetings, two of which I was on vacation with my entire family. I didn’t think we would ever have the opportunity to do that again, so I went.”
Todd went on to say that his absences from the council meetings was not as big an issue as it had been made out to be. He was still taking care of his duties as mayor, which consists of a lot more than the brief monthly council meeting.
“KRS (Kentucky Revised Statutes) allows for my absence from the meetings,” he said. “In the absence of a mayor the council appoints a mayor pro temp to preside over the meeting. With the mayor pro temp in place the council can do their normal job just like I was there.”
Todd said that before he left, there were a lot of people that he wanted to thank. He said that State Senator Dorsey Ridley, Representative Jim Gooch and Judge Executive Jim Townsend have always been there to help Sebree residents out. He also had very kind words for City Clerk Mary Thomas and her husband Emry Thomas, a city employee.
“Mary and Emry don’t need a mayor to tell them how to do their job,” Todd said. “They could take care of the city without a mayor. It’s nice to have a good, honest staff so that you don’t have to worry about anything.”
Todd said there were many things he was proud of that had come about during his time in office. Highest among them was how the city had managed personnel through the economic downturn of the last few years.
“We’ve managed to keep all of our city employees and keep them at the same benefit level,” he said. “It’s been tight, but we’ve been able to keep our people.”
Despite a poor showing in the recent city audit, Todd said that the city of Sebree is moving forwards, not backwards. The finances do not look all that great, but he said that is due to a string of 28 water leaks over a three month period in 2010 that drained the city budget.
“We are getting $71,000 from FEMA,” he said. “That will make the budget look totally different. We’re not hurting, we’ve balanced our budget.”
Since Ron Todd first took office in January of 1982 there have been a lot of improvements in Sebree. They include two fire trucks, a sewer jetter to clear clogged lines, the pedestrian bridge on US 41, an expansion of the city buildings and the annex of the old Carhartt building.
“We I became mayor, Sebree had water that was undrinkable to most people,” Todd said. “It was terrible water with a lot of chemicals in it. We got a grant to run a pipeline from Anaconda (Alcan) to Sebree and we’ve had good drinking water ever since.”
Sebree no longer uses Alcan water. When the Sebree water plant eventually had to be shut down, Sebree entered into a contract to get water and sewage services from Henderson.
“I think I’ve had a good career as mayor,” Todd said. “I have no animosity towards anyone and I don’t feel guilty about anything.”
Ron Todd’s resignation will be effective on Monday May 5, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. That is the official start of the next scheduled council meeting.
J-E News Editor
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