What’s next for Northport after the mayor’s resignation?
Northport Mayor Bobby Herndon shocked his own council and community Monday night when he announced his resignation. This came after his proposed street renaming project was voted down.
So what’s next for the city of Northport?
“I’ll miss it. I hate it. I’ll be here until December 31st,” Herndon said.
So who will be the next mayor of Northport? That we don’t know yet. Northport City Attorney Ron Davis said the job will go to whomever is council president at the end of the year. That would then create a vacant council seat. Davis explained how that seat will be filled in the new year.
“We have five council members in Northport,” he said. “When there is a vacancy, then the other four council members have 60 days to select someone from the vacant district. ”
WVUA 23 spoke with current Northport City Council President Jeff Hogg Thursday. He said as of now, he is not interested in or planning to become Northport’s next mayor.
We caught up with Mayor Herndon at his commercial business, Herndon, Hicks and Associates. It is located on the stretch of street Herndon wanted to be rename Benevolent Way in honor of all the people who have donated to his many efforts after natural disasters.
“I found out a couple of weeks ago that it looked like it was going to get turned down because I did not meet the new regulations council just wrote,” Herndon said. “The name wasn’t compatible, so they say.”
When discussing the city’s new guidelines for renaming streets, Davis said the new street names should honor a specific organization or a deceased person, which the mayor’s suggestion of Benevolent Way does not.”
“I am very pleased with the efforts he makes and we would certainly like to honor that,” Davis said. “We need to do that in a way that fits the city’s procedures. He is the mayor. He should follow those rules and regulations.”
Davis also told WVUA 23 that Mayor Herndon was made aware of council’s concerns that the renaming of the street could be an ethics violation.
“I was concerned because the ethics law prevents an elected official from benefiting financially from their position,” Davis. “My concern was the only business that faces that street is the mayor’s office and that was a concern that I raised.”
When asked about the possible conflict, Mayor Herndon said,
“This is not related to my business. My business is here. This is not a self laudatory act. It is not about Bobby Herndon. It is not about Herndon, Hicks and Associates. It is about honoring and recognizing the citizens of Northport. If there was an ethics thing, if I was concerned with it, I would have asked the council to grant the motion subject to me getting an opinion from the ethics commission. It was a done deal. They wrote the ordinance just so it would not pass. I am very interested in it but it is not a conflict of interest. It is time for me to go. If I can’t do the job I think I should do, it is time to go. No second thoughts. I will miss it. I love my city. I will be promoting Northport from outside the mayor’s office.”
Herndon will serve as mayor for the remainder of 2022, then the city will be under new leadership as of January 1, 2023.