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Voters rejecting Ruston measure

Post by News Tribune Staff on Aug. 20, 2008 at 6:32 pm with No Comments »
August 20, 2008 6:32 pm

Ruston Mayor Bob Everding resigned Monday, a day before residents apparently voted down a measure that would transfer the town’s executive power to an administrator.

Entering Wednesday evening, 91 people had voted against the change. Sixty-six voted for it.

Ruston has 452 active voters, according to the Piece County auditor’s office.

"This shows that not everyone agrees with the way the council wants to go," said Karen Pickett, a vocal opponent of the proposition. "The council still has a fairly strong base, but clearly not everyone agrees with all the changes they propose."

Proponents of the switch said the job responsibilities of the mayor have become too much to handle for one person. Opponents were wary of adding another layer of bureaucracy, the cost involved and losing an elected official who is responsive to citizens.

Now it appears the town needs a new mayor.

Everding e-mailed his resignation letter to some members of council ahead of its Monday meeting. Councilman Jim Hedrick, who said he read a copy of the letter e-mailed to Councilwoman Jane Hunt, said Everding said he would serve through Sunday and would help the council find a replacement.

Everding didn’t return a voicemail Wednesday.

The council has the task of appointing a new mayor, provided the change-of-government measure ultimately fails, Councilman Jim Hedrick said.

"The only thing officially we have done is appoint Councilman (Bradley) Huson as mayor pro tem," Hedrick said.

Everding served on the council until Jan. 19, when he resigned amid growing frustration over in-fighting between the members of the council and Mayor Michael Transue.

Transue resigned on June 2, saying the atmosphere at council meetings was growing increasingly tense. The council unanimously appointed Everding to the vacancy two days later.

Everding wasn’t showing any obvious displeasure with his position, Hedrick said.

"This is completely out of the blue," he said.

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