HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg City Council President Kim Bradley announced Tuesday night he is stepping down as president effective immediately.
"It is time," Bradley said. "It's been a tough three, four years working as the president dealing with the wastewater and the other things, challenges that we have. It's taken a lot of time away from my business everyday. I'd have to be honest to say that it has caused some problems at my house. You know, not being there and always on my mind, and I think this is the best thing for me and best thing for the council. We are pretty much through the wastewater deal. Everything is pretty well moving in the direction. Our annexation case, it's already been assigned. It's going forward. The only thing between us now is the budget for this year."
Bradley was elected to the council in June 2005 and became president after Hurricane Katrina. While he is leaving the position he has held for almost 10 years, Bradley will remain on the council as a general member for the rest of his current term.
"I'll still be here" Bradley said. "I'm not quitting or anything, but I think someone else needs to be that leader, so effective tonight, I'm going to step down. I have no intention of running for office next year. I don't. I believe the other members up here are, and I believe that someone else needs to lead this council the remainder. I think they needed to pick someone to lead someone through the rest of this year. Hopefully all of them will be back after municipal elections next year and have that leadership in place."
After Bradley's announcement, he asked the other council members to nominate his replacement. Councilperson Deborah Delgado nominated current council Vice President Henry Naylor as president, but no one seconded, including Naylor. Councilperson Mary Dryden then nominated Carter Carroll as president, and he was approved by everyone but Delgado.
"I'm pretty happy with the change in personnel," Delgado said. "It's been too long, especially when there needs to be some diversity in leadership, but we don't have that in Hattiesburg. We don't have the benefit of that. My concern going forward is that we'll have the same culture, until the election, running the council. So I'm still a little bit concerned, but very happy that the leadership has changed."
Bradley said, "I think to be totally honest, I think maybe I've gotten a little callous with some things, not as sensitive to some things as I should be. I don't think that's fair to the other council members. I believe it's best for (me) to do this today. I guess when it wears off, I know I've done the right thing. It's a little hard today. I mean, I've done this for 10 years, and certainly have enjoyed doing it. I've met a lot of neat people and been involved in a lot of good things. Some bad things, but mostly good things. I'm going to miss it, but I know when it settles in, I'm going to be a better person. I'm going to be a better manager of my business, a better husband to my wife, and I'm excited about it. It's going to be fun."
Carroll is entering his 17th year on the Hattiesburg City Council and previously served as council president from 2001-2006.
Bradley then nominated Naylor remain as vice president. Carroll seconded that motion, but Naylor then announced he was also stepping down from his leadership role.
"I would like to make a change as well," Naylor said.
Carroll then nominated Dryden as the new vice president, and she was approved by everyone but Delgado.
The council has a special called budget meeting Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. It will be the first official meeting under the new leadership.