Mayor Mike Haviland chose to resign because the actions of the City Council over the past four years have caused a change in Nelson’s government and a “contentious working relationship” between his office and the council, his letter of resignation forwarded to the Tribune states.
Haviland said this situation is not “serving Nelson government or its citizens well.”
Council member Jackie Jarrett said Monday that he didn’t know how to interpret Haviland’s statements against the City Council.
“I hadn’t had nothing to do with trying to flip-flop anything,” Jarrett said. “I know the mayors we’ve had seem like they’ve wanted to take the city in a different direction. And it’s not just in the last four years.”
For the past four years, Haviland said the efforts of the City Council to adjust the authorities of the office of mayor has turned Nelson’s government from one led by a “strong mayor” to one led by the city manager, a “strong city council” and “weak mayor.”
Jarrett though said that Haviland, who was mayor about a year, knew before taking office how Nelson government ran.
“I don’t know what he come in for,” Jarrett said. “He just come in with a bunch of big-city ideas on how to run things and do things that don’t work in a small town like we’ve got.”
Haviland expressed thanks to Nelson, its staff, officials and residents, and the press for their support in his time as mayor.
“I appreciate the opportunity to have served and contributed to Nelson city government,” Haviland wrote. “And while the city faces serious challenges in the future, I have every confidence that the leadership and vision of the City Council management team along with its staff and city manager will step forward to address them.”
Haviland counts as the second Nelson mayor to resign in two years, following Mayor David Leister’s resignation in 2012.
Haviland declined to comment further on his statements against the City Council on Tuesday afternoon.
Nelson councilman and Mayor Pro-tem Jonathan Bishop will likely take over the mayor’s duties for the time being, Haviland said.