Burlington City Councilman and former Mayor Tim Scott has resigned in a surprise decision, with less than three months until the next city council election.
Council Members were taken aback by the decision, which was made in the form of an email sent Monday and is effective immediately.
“It was a gut punch,” Burlington Mayor Shane McCampbell told KBUR. “I still need to process all of this and talk to Mr. Scott. It was quite a surprise.”
Scott’s resignation comes in the wake of a Sunday article in the Hawk Eye newspaper in which City Manager Jim Ferneau was quoted as saying that email communications with Scott weighed into his decision to submit his resignation earlier this month. Scott broached the idea of resigning in an interview with the paper on Sunday, even going so far as to say he was considering asking Ferneau if he would be willing to stay on as City Manager if he resigned.
In Scott’s resignation email, he referred to his continued presence on the council as a “distraction.”
Ferneau also weighed in on the decision Monday, saying that it does cloud his decision to resign in October.
“I don’t know where this goes with my decision-making process, this was rather surprising and I don’t know how to evaluate that,” Ferneau said.
McCampbell tabled scheduled discussion on replacing Ferneau at the end of Monday’s work session.
Moving forward, the council will have to either appoint someone to fill Scott’s vacant seat, leave the seat open, or hold a special election to fill the role. With the general election less than three months away on November 7th, Ferneau says it isn’t likely that the council will be able to organize a special election in time.
The council is expected to formally accept Scott’s resignation next week during their regularly scheduled City Council Meeting.