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Cottonwood Shores Place 4 Councilor Michael Hibdon issued a letter of resignation to Mayor Donald Orr on Aug. 31, leading to a vacancy, which was filled Sept. 15 by Ray Whitis.

Hibdon spoke to DailyTrib.com about his decision to resign from the City Council, citing issues with “the mayor and city administrator’s actions over the last few months and the culture they were creating.”

Hibdon also said the city government needs term limits.

“(It’s) time for a lot of our representatives to go home and retire,” he said.

Orr responded to Hibdon’s statements.

“Michael and I have a difference of opinion,” he said. “I’m going to leave it at that.”

Per rules of the city, appointments may only come from nominations made by individual councilors. Councilors then vote on the nominations, with the majority dictating who is awarded the seat. 

The first nomination, for Jared Dodd, came from Councilor Michael Ritchie. 

“He’s a father of 10, a pastor, an author,” Ritchie said. “I think he would make a great addition to the council.”

The second nomination, coming from Councilor Brigitte Thomas and seconded by Councilor Roger Wayson, was for Ray Whitis.

Whitis served on the council in the past and currently serves on the city’s Crime Prevention and Control District board.

“This is a seven-month appointment, so we need someone who will hit the ground running, and Ray has served on the council before,” Wayson said. “The second thing is Ray doesn’t want to run again.”

Whitis also attends most of the city’s meetings. 

Whitis got the appointment on a 3-1 roll call vote with Ritchie dissenting.

“Reluctantly, I’ll do it,” he said moments after being appointed.

Cottonwood Shores Municipal Court Judge Don Adams gave Whitis words of encouragement before swearing him in to the Place 4 seat.

“You’re being given a unique privilege,” Adams said. “That is to serve the people closest to you. I know that you will fulfill that obligation very well.”

Whitis does not plan to run in the May 6, 2023, election, meaning the seat will be up for grabs several months down the line.

“He was appointed because he said he isn’t going to run in May,” Mayor Orr said. “The residents will get an opportunity to select someone rather than having the council select someone for a long term.”

nathan@thepicayune.com

1 thought on “Cottonwood Shores councilor leaves office over ‘culture’ issues

  1. I find it sad that former Council Member Hibdon is blaming the city administration for things that aren’t going right when I think a lot of this blame needs to be aimed back at himself and fellow council members. The council members are the ones that vote on things that make the necessary changes for the city. If things aren’t going the way they are aiming for then they need to look at what they are voting for in more detail. The council has been given proof that there is personnel that is not what is best for the city. They then found a loophole to pass the responsibilities to someone else or do nothing at all. It is easy to blame others than to look in the mirror and ask yourself what you could have done to make things right. He is right about 1 thing, there needs to be personnel changes made to help the city but they are not in the places he is saying.

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