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.”