Milton Councilwoman Sharon Holley unexpectedly resigns, cites 'outside influences' on council
Councilwoman Sharon Holley resigned unexpectedly from her seat on the Milton City Council Thursday afternoon, citing "outside influences" that she claimed made the council ineffective.
In her brief letter, which was addressed to the mayor, City Council and the city of Milton, Holley said she realized that "life is short" and her resignation would be effective as of 3 p.m. Thursday.
"I have toyed with what content to include or not to include within this letter," Holley wrote. "Serving the citizens of our city is a great honor and should be revered as such. Some members of this council with their outside influences have pushed this council as a whole from being an effective government body."
Holley did not elaborate in the letter about what "outside influences" she was referring to, and she did not respond to multiple requests from the News Journal to expand on her claim.
Holley's resignation comes just six months after another councilwoman, Heather Hathaway, unexpectedly resigned due to a change in her living situation. The City Council appointed Navy veteran David Richardson to Hathaway's vacant seat the following month.
Per the city charter, the City Council now has 60 days to fill Holley's seat, which they will do by voting to appoint someone out of a pool of applicants who live in Ward 4.
New council member appointed:Milton City Council appoints Navy vet and former pastor David Richardson to council seat
"She is an honorable and knowledgeable person, whose experience will be missed," Milton Mayor Heather Lindsay told the News Journal in a phone interview Friday.
Council fails to reach quorum for second time in less than a month
The day that Holley resigned was also the day when the Milton City Council failed to reach quorum due to absent council members for the second time in less than a month.
In order for the council to reach quorum, which it needs in order to vote on items, five of the eight council members need to be physically present.
At the March 1 Executive Committee meeting, the only council members physically present were George Jordan, Casey Powell and Jeff Snow. Councilman Matthew Jarrett was present via the phone, but his presence did not count toward quorum.
At Thursday's Committee of the Whole meeting, the only council members physically present were Jordan, Shannon Rice and Roxanne Meiss. Jarrett and Richardson appeared via telephone.
City Manager Randy Jorgenson said most of the absences were due to spring break, COVID-19 and other family matters.
"For this week, I can tell you that it's spring break and a couple of council members have children, and they're vacationing with their children, as we should expect," Jorgenson said. "They're also not required to be at committee meetings, they're not seated as a council and there's no decision made at a committee meeting that is binding in any way."
The city of Milton holds three types of meetings each month:
- Committee of the Whole meetings, which are generally longer meetings that have lengthier back-and-forth discussions in which council members can ask questions, start dialogues and ask for more information
- Executive Committee meetings, where council members generally state their opinion on certain matters and direct Jorgenson and city staff to do further research if necessary
- City Council meetings, where final votes are held
Per city charter, council members are only required to attend City Council meetings, though traditionally they have attended all three meetings.
Jorgenson said the COVID-19 pandemic has also played a role in the absence of quorum twice this month.
"We've still got COVID going on," he said. "I had a fever Saturday and Sunday, so Monday morning I got tested and Tuesday morning I was at work. But I'm still taking precautions, and you're going to have people that find themselves in that situation. With Sharon's resignation being read into the record, obviously we're going to be short another council person right there, so that is an explanation for why there weren't enough people last night."
Annie Blanks can be reached at email@example.com or 850-435-8632.