Village of New Miami Mayor Patti Hanes resigned abruptly after seven years in the elected position amid calls from residents for her to step down.
“I am sorry to inform you all that I will be resigning as your village mayor effective today Nov. 7, 2014 due to my family needing to come first,” Hanes said in a letter sent to council members and village administrators Friday. “I have given the village of New Miami my heart and soul and put my family on back burner and took the brunt of everything for you all and didn’t even have a vote in any decision made in 7 years, but I can no longer do this.”
Turmoil has plagued the small village just outside of Hamilton in the past year, with a judge ordering the removal of revenue producing red light cameras and the firing of its police chief.
For the past two years, resident Larry Marlow and others have asked Hanes to resign. Marlow said he circulated a petition to have a recall election to remove Hanes from office and has been set up outside council meetings looking for signatures.
“I voted for her when she first got in there,” Marlow said. “She did some good things for the village, but then she wanted to do everyone else’s job.”
He added, “It it nothing personal. She is basically a good person, but I think the village will run a lot better with her out.”
Village Attorney Dennis Adams said vice mayor Robert Lee Hensley his now mayor and the village will have to officially accept Hanes’ resignation at its next meeting on Nov. 20.
Hensley said he was surprised when he received notice of Hanes’ resignation.
“There are people around her who will say bad things about her,” Hensley said. “But she worked for the good of the village. She has been great for the village. We have come a long way and she had a big hand in it. I respect her.”
Before election as mayor, Hanes served on village council for two years. She would have had to run for re-election next year.
Hanes said the only reason she left office was for her family.
“I simply resigned to spend time with family and travel. My husband is getting close to retirement and I am needed at home, nothing more,” Hanes told the Journal-News.
“I moved here 15 years ago and I care more about this community than most that have been here a lifetime,” Hanes said in her resignation letter. “I wish you all well but from this day forward my family will be number one. I would like to thank everyone for their continued hard work and dedication to me as your direct supervisor, without your continued dedication and respect as well as hard work it would not have been possible to continue the work I have done for the Village of New Miami.”
The village hired a new police chief in June after council fired former Police Chief Kenny Cheek because he allegedly choked a suspect. Officers were off patrol for several months when the village was dropped from its insurance plan because of excessive lawsuits and claims. Since then, the village has obtained new coverage, but the police department has been denied for coverage by at least four insurance agencies.
According to an investigation by the Journal-News, New Miami officials spent hundreds of thousands of dollars upgrading village cars, giving raises to employees and paying out-of-pocket health insurance expenses for employees using money from a controversial and now obsolete speed camera ticketing system.
A court order issued in February banned village officials from using the speed cameras, and the village faces the prospect of paying back the speed camera ticket money pending a court ruling.
Staff Writer Amanda Seitz contributed to this report.