Florida mayor resigns over fund distribution concerns

Mar 21, 2023, 8:25 AM

Mayor Frank Hibbard speaks to the public during a city council meeting at the Clearwater Main Libra...

Mayor Frank Hibbard speaks to the public during a city council meeting at the Clearwater Main Library on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Clearwater, Fla. Hibbard turned in his resignation during a tense budget meeting, Monday, March 20, and said he made the quick decision due to concerns over the direction his colleagues were taking with city funds. (Jefferee Woo/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

(Jefferee Woo/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — A Florida mayor turned in his resignation during a tense budget meeting and said he made the quick decision due to concerns over the direction his colleagues were taking with city funds.

Clearwater’s Mayor Frank Hibbard called for a five-minute recess Monday and made the announcement afterward. Before the recess, the council had been discussing how to pay for a $250 million shortfall for about 30 projects, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Hibbard had pushed back against spending $90 million for a new city hall and municipal services complex while his four colleagues said was their top priority for the city of Clearwater, which has a population of about 116,000 people and is 23 miles (37 kilometers) from Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

He called his resignation one of the toughest decisions he’s had to make.

“I’m not a quitter, but I’m not the right leader for this council anymore and I’m concerned where the city is going, because this is simple math and we’re not doing very well on the test,” Hibbard said.

Council member Kathleen Beckman’s mouth was agape as Hibbard spoke. She then reconvened the budget workshop and urged her colleagues to carry on despite being “shell-shocked,” the Times reported.

After leaving the meeting, Hibbard told the Times he made the decision on the spot.

He called his wife, Teresa, who he said asked if he could live with the decision. “I’m not going to have a choice,” he told the newspaper when asked the same question.

“This is so out of character for me … I don’t do things lightly,” Hibbard said. “I don’t want to criticize the council, but it’s an overall vision for where the city is going and being fiscally responsible. We talk about affordability and everything else, but we’re not doing the things that continue to keep a cap on costs.”

Hibbard was in the last year of his four-year term, and had already announced he would not seek reelection. He had previously served as mayor from 2004 to 2012, and took office again in March 2020, just as the global pandemic was beginning.

After the budget meeting, the city’s attorney told the council he wanted to speak with Hibbard to confirm his intentions before they discussed replacing him.

By that time, Hibbard had already cleared out his office.

National News

Associated Press

California investigating whether DeSantis involved in flying asylum-seekers from Texas to Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Officials were investigating Tuesday whether Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis was behind a flight that picked up asylum-seekers on the Texas border and flew them — apparently without their knowledge — to California’s capital, even as faith-based groups scrambled to find housing and food for them. About 20 people ranging in age […]

23 hours ago

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, center, poses for a selfie after a town hall style meeting a...

Associated Press

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie set to launch 2024 presidential bid at New Hampshire town hall

NEW YORK (AP) — Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is set to launch his bid for the Republican nomination for president at a town hall in New Hampshire on Tuesday evening. The campaign will be the second for Christie, who lost to Trump in 2016 and went on to become a close on-and-off adviser […]

23 hours ago

This booking photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections shows Michael Tisius. Tisius ...

Associated Press

Missouri man facing execution for killing 2 jailers in failed bid to help inmate escape in 2000

A man who shot and killed two rural Missouri jailers nearly 23 years ago during a failed bid to help an inmate escape is set to be executed Tuesday evening. for killing Leon Egley and Jason Acton at the small Randolph County Jail on June 22, 2000. Tisius’ lawyers have urged the U.S. Supreme Court […]

23 hours ago

FILE - E. Jean Carroll arrives at Manhattan federal court, Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in New York. Donal...

Associated Press

Trump’s lawyers say defamation claim by NY writer must fail because jury agreed he never raped her

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York writer who won a $5 million jury verdict against ex-President Donald Trump can’t win a pending defamation lawsuit against him because the jury agreed with Trump that he never raped her, his lawyers told a judge Monday. The lawyers urged Judge Lewis A. Kaplan to reject columnist E. […]

23 hours ago

Crowd members listen to a speaker during the "Unions Strike Back" rally, Friday, May 26, 2023, near...

Associated Press

Hollywood actors guild votes to authorize strike, as writers strike continues

Actors represented by the Hollywood union SAG-AFTRA voted Monday evening to authorize a strike if they don’t agree on a new contract with major studios, streamers and production companies by June 30. The guild, which represents over 160,000 screen actors, broadcast journalists, announcers, hosts and stunt performers, begins its negotiations with the Alliance of Motion […]

23 hours ago

FILE - A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference, April 28, 2015,...

Associated Press

Microsoft will pay $20M to settle U.S. charges of illegally collecting children’s data

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Microsoft will pay a fine of $20 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it illegally collected and retained the data of children who signed up to use its Xbox video game console. The agency charged that Microsoft gathered the data without notifying parents or obtaining their consent, and that […]

23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Florida mayor resigns over fund distribution concerns