New Miami mayor abruptly resigns after election defeat

In a surprise move, New Miami Mayor Bob Henley has resigned effective Saturday, citing “frustration” over the lost election earlier this month, but vowed to return to council.

He told the Journal-News it might have been a mistake to resign, although he only has a month left before he leaves office.

“I resigned over frustration over how the election went, I guess,” he said of the resignation submitted Thursday. “It’s really frustrating.”

Stephanie Chandler won the November mayoral election by a 63 to 37 percent margin.

“The voter turnout hurt me,” he said.

In the tiny village of about 2,250 residents only 220 people cast ballots. Henley has been on the village council in some capacity since 2008.

“You do the best you can with what you have, and if that’s not good enough …,” Henley said. “I guess that was my thing, you know. You get blamed for everything and you don’t get credit for anything.

“That’s pretty much the way it went, there was comments that I’ve been up there for this long and I haven’t done anything. You’ve got to look at the financial situation, what more could we do with what we have?”

The village council would have to accept his resignation at the Dec. 5 meeting, but he said he might ask to rescind it before then.

“I’m going to try to be on council anyway, no matter what, as soon as my resignation or the end of my term, whichever way I decide to go, is through, I’m putting in my application for council,” he said.

There is no vacancy on the council, and he wouldn’t elaborate on why he would apply for council.

Village Solicitor Dennis Adams did not know about the resignation when contacted by the Journal-News but said if it takes effect, Vice Mayor Barb Schick will be mayor until Chandler is sworn in on Jan. 2.

Chandler was surprised to hear of the departure as well.

“He’s been in there a long time and I hate to hear he’s not finishing his term,” she said. “But I do wish him the best.”

The mayor-elect told the Journal-News recently that she wants the village to settle a 5-year-old, $3 million-plus case involving the village’s speed camera program and “stop spending taxpayer money on attorney fees.”

New Miami was sued by a large group of travelers who were fined by the village’s speed camera program that was later ruled unconstitutional. A judge recently ruled the speeders were owed $3.4 million. The fight has cost village taxpayers more than $360,000 in attorneys’ fees.

Henley said New Miami tried to settle the case several years ago, but the village couldn’t afford what the speeders demanded. The case is in the 12th District Court of Appeals. Even if the village loses all appeals Henley said the outcome would be better than settling.

“Hypothetically, if we lose everything, all is said and done, all appeals everything is over with, we’ve got 10 years to pay it back,” Henley said. “You settle this one at some exorbitant amount, you don’t have 10 years to pay it back, where is that money coming from?”

The 10-year payment plan is also on appeal by the speeders.

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