Mayor Jimmy Clark announced during the city council meeting, that he will be stepping down at the end of the year.

“I‘ve got several health issues, and family issues, I’ve kinda run out of gas and that’s not fair to the community,” Clark said.

If the mayor leaves before the end of the year, there will be an election to replace him. However, if he waits to step down until January, his replacement can be appointed for one year.

“Whoever the replacement is will have quite a few learning curves, just like I did, and with all the projects we have going on, I think we need to consider bringing some help on,” Clark said.

In light of this information, Clark asked the council to consider a $20,000 annual stipend for Fire Chief Jason Robitallie to oversee the bond projects to completion as a project coordinator.

The item was tabled for the next city council meeting.

“We have three years to finish these projects. We need to make sure it is very clean, as far as how our money comes in and goes out to the bond,” Clark said.

The position would be $4,000 per quarter, with no benefits.

“I just want to be fully transparent when it comes to what your intentions were and what I’m willing to do. I love being a fire chief,” Robitallie said.

The fire chief said it was news to him on Monday when he saw the line-item on the agenda.

“My hope is: next month that we can come together, have a clean job description, some duties, some expectations, put a sunset to that,” Robitallie said.

Alderman Sharon Williams asked if the position would be advertised for the community or other members of the city.

“We have got a wealth of retirement people that are very, very talented and maybe some of them would like it as part-time,” Williams said.

The mayor cited Robitallie’s energy and participation with the bond projects.

Several members of the gallery stood and voiced concerns.

“I just don’t know if it’s appropriate to move one city employee, someone as important as a fire chief or a police chief or anyone else in those types of positions, into a position that would take away from their normal duties,” said Sheldon Woodson.

“It’s not just his time, it’s a large amount of money,” Woodson said.

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