- Eyes On
UNIOPOLIS — Uniopolis Mayor Bill Rolston made his resignation official Saturday by signing and giving a letter of resignation to Council President Greg Ritchie.
Rolston confirmed his resignation in a telephone call Sunday, saying he delivered the letter to Ritchie’s home on Saturday. Rolston said Ritchie was not home, but he left the letter with Ritchie’s brother.
Ritchie confirmed receiving the letter in a telephone call on Sunday.
Ritchie said the letter simply stated “I William Rolston, resign as mayor.” The letter was dated for Dec. 25. Rolston’s resignation was discussed at Wednesday’s council meeting.
Councilors showed up for their council meeting to find a letter from Ritchie announcing his resignation sitting at Ritchie’s seat at the council table. However, the letter was unsigned, so councilors chose not to accept the resignation until getting official confirmation from Rolston himself.
Rolston said he took the letter to Ritchie’s home after seeing the story in the newspaper.
Ritchie said the letter delivered to his home was worded exactly the same, with the exception of the signature.
While Rolston did not give a reason for his resignation in his letter, he elaborated a little during his telephone interview.
Rolston and the council have been at odds ever since the council announced its intentions to dissolve the village, or to surrender its incorporation to the township, during a Feb. 8 meeting. The mayor was against the move.
“I just got tired of listening to the rest of them,” Rolston said. “No matter what I said, they were going to do what they wanted to do anyway. I always came home with an upset stomach. I felt it was time to step down and just let them do what they want to do.”
Rolston said while he was stepping down, he still cares for his village and hopes councilors take the steps the residents want them to take.
“I see where they are going to try for some mills on an operating levy, and I think they needed to give it a try,” Rolston said. “I think what they are trying for may be a little high, but I think that is the direction they need to go right now.”
The move was narrowly defeated by voters in November, and councilors felt the defeat was largely due to what they felt was misinformation delivered to village residents in a letter circulated by the mayor a week prior to the election.
“The general consensus seems to be to wait awhile,” Ritchie said. “The earliest it will probably be now is November, if then. Right now we think there needs to be a cooling down period. We (the council) tried to do what we thought was right but that wasn’t what the people wanted to do. We will ride it out until then.”
Councilor Jason Wenning said the council still has one direction to go in.
“The money is not there,” Wenning said. “The only direction we have to go is to salvage what we have. There is nothing else we can do. It is just like me at home, if you don’t have the money something is getting shut off. When you run out of money you go bankrupt. I think they are trying to get rid of the smaller communities.”
Councilors originally expressed a desire to get the unincorporation vote back on the ballot in May, but now seem to be leaning away from that move for now.
Several councilors announced their plans to appoint Ritchie as the new mayor until the election in November. Ritchie is the de facto mayor as council president until the council officially appoints him.
Councilors also will face the task of appointing a new council president at the January meeting and looking at options of filling the council seat left vacant by Ritchie’s appointment.
Councilor Marilyn Fleck said the council needs to use this move as an opportunity to move forward.
“We need to let the healing of our village begin,” Fleck said.