In a special called meeting of the Hiram City Council on Tuesday, Mayor Carmen Rollins announced that she will resign her position as of July 1.
Mayor Pro Tem Jack Paris, who was not at the meeting because of health reasons, will take over for Rollins.
Because the city is in an election year, the change will not require a special election to replace Rollins.
After calling the meeting to order and reading from a prepared statement, an emotional Rollins announced her resignation and alluded to conflicts between employees and other council members that led to her decision.
As part of her prepared statement, Rollins cited a verse from the Book of Matthew: “Every city or house that stands divided against itself shall not stand.’”
After the meeting, Rollins elaborated on her decision.
“We have some personnel issues, and basically I have been rendered unable to do my job with my employees because of votes by the council,” she said.
“There’s some conflict of interests here ... and there is a gaggle of people who have bonded together against me, and when that happens, you can’t get anything else done,” she said.
Rollins said the conflict was about a year and a half in the making and was getting “progressively worse.” Given that situation, she felt no reason to remain in the job.
“It’s a very sad day for me, and I still care very much about the city, and my business is here, and I hope that somehow people will wake up and decide to do the right thing,” she said.
Rollins initially took over in 2006 from longtime Hiram Mayor Dewey Pendley, who had fallen ill and could not complete his term. Rollins was elected to a full four-year term in November 2007.
Quoted this year regarding new census numbers that showed the city’s population had risen to more than 3,500, Rollins said Hiram had been “a little one-stop, red-light town. And now we really are somewhat of a booming metropolis."
The job of mayor has changed over the years and become a demanding, full-time position, she said.
Rollins spent her earliest days in office reorganizing the city staff and improving departmental accountability before turning to a range of streetscape and other projects in the downtown area. Rollins has also served on several boards, including the Paulding Chamber of Commerce, the Industrial Building Authority, the Airport Authority, the Meth and Family Alliance of Paulding, and the steering committee for the new WellStar Hospital.
Rollins said during the meeting that resigning now will allow Paris a window of opportunity to decide whether he wants to seek the job.
Councilman Derrick Battle said after the meeting: “It’s a sad time for the city of Hiram; hopefully, we can move forward. We’re going to miss Mayor Rollins.”
Councilwoman Teresa Philyaw expressed similar regret over the announcement. “We have a couple of people that were determined to make it impossible for her to stay. ... She’s going to be greatly missed.”
City Attorney Glen Stinson declined to comment after the meeting.
The City Council is scheduled to hold its next regular meeting Tuesday, July 12.