MULBERRY — Mulberry’s Mayor, President of the city’s council and two other council members resigned during Tuesday’s council meeting.
Mulberry Mayor Randy Jones, Council President Ken Collins, and two council members Mike Coulter and Steve Householder all resigned Tuesday.
The first to resign was Collins. Collins said he submitted his resignation on paper.
Collins said he resigned because he felt the city did not trust him after allegations that the council was embezzling money and conflicts of interest in hiring in city hall and other allegations on social media.
“They [comments on social media] were toward the city employees, the council and the mayor,” Collins said. “The police chief is married to the city clerk, some people think that is inappropriate”
Collins said the city attorney did not object to the hiring of the city clerk at the hiring a year ago.
“He was there [the city attorney] but I don’t remember him saying it was [was wrong], but he would have told us if it wasn’t.”
On social media, a user had alluded to alleged embezzlement of city funds, Collins said.
“Our city treasury said $500,000 and is now less than $300,000,” Collins said. “He [the user] alluded that there was some embezellment going on.”
Collins said he abstained from the vote on the hiring of his second cousin.
“We also hired a lady as an assistant that happens to be my second cousin, I personally abstained from that vote because I did not feel like it was appropriate for me to vote for her,” he said.
Collins said he no longer will be running for mayor along with resigning from the council.
“... I just couldn’t do my job,” he said. “I felt like they couldn’t trust me anymore.”
Harlene Bailey was appointed to Collins’ seat.
According to Mulberry City Clerk Cherokee Pelican, Bailey’s seat will not be up for vote in November's city council election.
“There are four councilmen, every two years, two seats are up for vote,” Pelican said. “The term is four years, we will vote on the two we didn’t vote on two years ago.”
Preston Hummell was appointed to Coulter’s seat and Pete Willey was appointed to Steve Householder’s seat.
Willey was then elected by the council as president.
Mayor Randy Jones then resigned and Willey was appointed as acting mayor by law.
“A [city council] president becomes mayor if that seat [mayor’s seat] becomes vacant,” Pelican said. “It is state law.”
Jones could not be reached by telephone by press time.
Pelican said the Mayor’s seat is on the ballot for November’s city council election.
In other business at the meeting, the board let go Mulberry Police Chief Tim Pelican.
Collins said family members of the recent shooting victim were present at the council meeting to express their concerns with the Mulberry Police Department and also to praise the fire department which was on scene to help the victim receive care.
According to Cherokee Pelican — who is married to Tim Pelican — the chief was laid off because of funding. There is currently one police officer in Mulberry, Cherokee Pelican said.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.