Clearwater, Fla., mayor Frank Hibbard called it quits in the middle of a city council meeting on Monday.
“This is probably one of the toughest things I’ve done in my entire life, but I know it’s right,” Hibbard told surprised colleagues at the confab.
The announcement came around 9 a.m. right after a recess, with Hibbard seated under the city’s seal, flanked by four board members. The council was discussing the development of a new City Hall.
“I’m not a quitter, but I’m not the right leader for this council any more,” he said.
Hibbard referred to himself as a “busy guy” who believes in “making sacrifices for public service,” but expressed concern with where Clearwater was headed while packing his belongings into a briefcase. He mentioned he was proud of some things the board had accomplished and expressed confidence that local pols would more onward without his help.
“In good conscience, for my family, for my own health and other things, I can’t remain the mayor,” Hibbard said. “I know this is shocking but I just — I’m the wrong guy right now.”
He wished the city council well, thanked his staff and exited the room. The four remaining council members agreed to a 10-minute recess, then got back to business. Councilman David Allbritton remarked that what just happened was “shocking,” but not cause for alarm.
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“I don’t want anybody freaking out about this,” he said.
Hibbard moved to Clearwater from Chicago in 1979, according to his official bio. He was serving his third term as mayor after being re-elected in 2020 following an eight-year break from office.
Nearly 120,000 people reside in the northwestern Florida city, which celebrities including Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, Hulk Hogan and Evel Knievel have called home.
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