Augusta Mayor Bob Young, addressing what he called "Augusta's worst-kept secret," formally announced this morning that he will resign June 20 to become the regional director of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department in Atlanta.
Mr. Young, whose departure to take a job with the federal government has been rumored for months, made the announcement in the municipal building's commission chamber.
"I've asked you here today to share with you Augusta's worst-kept secret," Mr. Young said. "The life you live is based on opportunities, and in my life another door is opening on a new opportunity.
"My decision is made after prayerful reflection and consultation with my family and my friends. I intend to leave office, the office I have held since Jan. 4, 1999, to accept an appointment from President Bush.
"In the coming days I will formalize my resignation in a letter to the governor with an effective date of June 20. I will assume new duties as the regional director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development."
The region has 14 offices in eight Southeastern states and the Caribbean and is responsible for the administration of programs that address home ownership, public housing, homelessness, economic development and social services.
"HUD is an important partner with the city of Augusta," Mr. Young said. "Each year, this city receives over $40 million in direct payments from HUD for public housing, affordable housing and community development."
Mr. Young's principal office will be in Atlanta, but he and his wife, Gwen, the owner of Gwen Fulcher Young & Associates Real Estate Co., will continue to live in Augusta and remain a part of the business, cultural and religious life of the city, he said.
The Augusta Commission is expected to name an interim mayor, possibly but not necessarily one of the current commissioners.
The mayor pro tem's role, currently held by Commissioner Marion Williams, does not automatically succeed the mayor, legal sources say. However, Mr. Williams will preside until an interim mayor is chosen.
If a commissioner is chosen, he or she would have to resign from the commission permanently to serve until a special election could be held to fill the unexpired term, according to City Attorney Stephen Shepard. The new mayor would not have a vote.
Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.