WILLIAMSON – Williamson Mayor Stephen Johnson Knopp, Williamson City Clerk Francis Frye and Williamson City Attorney Chris Younger announced resignations to the public that packed into the Williamson City Council Chamber at the regular meeting Thursday evneing, August 27.
Mayor Knopp announced his resignation with the council meeting’s opening remarks. “You see before you this evening a very frustrated and very disappointed mayor. The reason for that will soon become apparent.”
Knopp listed declining health as the reason behind his resignation. “As many of you may know, I have been spending a great deal of time having a series of medical tests and consulting locally and abroad medical professionals. I have a serious medical problem and my doctors are insistent that I must focus on this issue immediately. Therefore, at the direction of my physicians, and at the urging of my wife, I will be submitting to the council, my resignation as Mayor of the City of Williamson,” Knopp said.
Knopp continued his explanation behind the resignation saying, “I know that my resignation will come as a relief to some of you and will come as a disappointment to others. I had looked forward to resolving and continue to resolve our cities’ continuing issues and I had expected to complete the term and stand for reelection.”
Knopp concluded his remarks with the statement, “The ground work has been laid for a rebuilding of the City of Williamson. I thank you for the opportunity to serve as your mayor for the last fifteen months.”
Knopp had been appointed to serve after former Mayor Darrin McCormick resigned.
The meeting immediately went into executive session to discuss personnel matters following Knopp’s announcement of resignation.
When members of the council rejoined the public to continue to meeting, the resignations of Frye and Younger were announced.
Knopp started opening remarks and announced the resignation of Williamson City Clerk, Francis Frye. “While in executive session, we have had the opportunity to discuss a number of pending personnel matters. The first matter we have to announce is that we very reluctantly and with mixed emotions have been asked to accept the resignation of Francis Frye as Williamson City Clerk.”
Frye’s resignation will become effective Aug. 31. Knopp said, “Francis came to us Aug. 13 with a number of concerns. She has been with us and has given great service to the city for the last 22 years. We have to honor her request. It has been my distinct privilege and the privilege of four previous mayors of this town who have had the assistance of Francis and her duties as clerk. She has done well by the city and I’m sure other members of the council will join me in wishing her well in the future.”
Replacing Frye as City Clerk will be Larry Brown. Brown has agreed to serve as a interim city clerk on a trial basis for 120 days. Knopp welcomed Brown saying, “Welcome aboard. We appreciate you stepping up.”
Younger’s resignation as Williamson City attorney was announced next. Knopp said, “The second matter we undertook to discuss is also a resignation which came to us Aug. 20. We have also received a resignation letter from Chris Younger, our City Attorney who has advised that after 25 years of practice and in representing the city of Williamson, some changes in his private practice have increased. He has to choose between spending a lot, and I mean a lot, of time with city matters and meeting the needs of his clients. He will also be leaving us Aug. 31 and has graciously agreed to consult with whoever his replacement may be in this transition. It has been great for me to have Chris on board. He has never been shy about digging in and making sure the city was served well with his legal advice and wise council. We appreciate your gracious offer to get us into the transition into the next stage of this administration.”
The newly appointed mayor and city attorney will not be announced until the next Williamson City Council meeting in September. “I will be on board as mayor through the next city council meeting in Sept. At that point, we hope to be in a position to announce a successor. Chris and I will attempt to bring our replacements up to speed as quickly as possible,” Knopp said.
Members of the Williamson City Council were given the opportunity to comment on the resignations. Councilmen, York Smith said, “I am surprised of the resignation of our mayor, our city clerk and our city attorney. They have tried to do the right thing by the City of Williamson. It goes back to one thing- honesty.”
Smith commented on the task of appointing a new mayor for the City of Williamson. “It is going to be hard to pick a mayor. I don’t know who would want the job. It is going to be hard to get a city attorney. I, for one, have worked with them and I know what they have done and it has been honest and above board,” Smith said.
Councilwoman, Judy Hamrick also made remarks concerning the resignations. “We hate to see good people leave. You have to appreciate people who do public service. It is a tough job and it is a lot of work. I hope we can find good people to replace them. I hope we can move forward,” Hamrick said.
The Williamson City Council meets the second and fourth Thursday each month. The next meeting will be Sept. 10.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2279.)