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Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Mayor of Rockford resigns after election

By William Kincaid
ROCKFORD - Village councilors made no comment Tuesday when newly re-elected Mayor Robert King announced his resignation. It is a move that could significantly alter council.
Before the regular council meeting, King - who won a tight race against council members Amy Joseph and Eugene Steiner in November - stated he had stepped down as mayor on Friday.
In a letter given to councilors last week, he wrote, "to receive my public retirement benefits, I must retire from the public office before the end of my current term as mayor of Rockford, Dec. 31 ... This would require a period of two months from any elected position."
Council members were silent after King made his public announcement. King then handed control of the meeting over to Joseph, the current council president. He then left before the regular meeting started.
In King's letter, he called his resignation a "temporary vacancy." After retiring in order to gain his public retirement benefits, King said he would like to be reappointed as mayor.
However, that is not possible, says Village Solicitor Judy Koesters.
Koesters said Joseph will act as mayor while simultaneously retaining her vote as a councilwoman until Jan. 1. She said whoever is elected council president for 2008 will become the next mayor, according to the Ohio Revised Code. Council members then will vote on a new president in January.
Koesters this morning said she didn't know how King could be eligible for appointment, as the new council president - who would become mayor - would have to be voted on in January. King wouldn't even be eligible for public office until February, she said.
Koesters also pointed out that there will be a second empty council seat to fill in January, as Joseph's term as council member expires on Dec. 31. In November, Joseph ran for the mayor position, not her current seat on council.
Village Administrator Jeff Long said Rockford resident Todd McKee, 103 Wayne Street, has shown interest in becoming a council member and has submitted his resume to the city. According to his resume, McKee is a customer service manager at BAE Systems, Fort Wayne, and a graduate of Illinois State University with a bachelor's degree in economics.
Long also said that the village's mayor's court - which usually brings in around $600 a month - could be suspended until as long as February when a new mayor takes power and receives the required six-hour-training to conduct the court.
King has been mayor for six years, prior to that he was the Mercer County treasurer for 14 years.
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