Originally created 05/27/05

Sources say mayor will say goodbye



Augusta Mayor Bob Young has called a news conference today where he is expected to announce his resignation and appointment as regional director of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department in Atlanta, according to sources close to the mayor.

Mr. Young, whose departure to take a job with the federal government has been rumored for months, said he could not comment on the subject of the conference, scheduled for 11 a.m. in commission chambers in the municipal building.

"There are many things I'd like to tell you, but I can't," he said Thursday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Young sent an e-mail to city employees inviting them to the news conference where he said he would talk about his leaving.

If Mr. Young resigns, Augusta commissioners are expected to name an interim mayor, possibly but not necessarily one of the current city commissioners.

The mayor pro tem role, currently held by Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams, does not automatically succeed the mayor, legal sources say.

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. And the new mayor would not have a vote.

Six commissioners, including Betty Beard, Barbara Sims, Bobby Hankerson, Don Grantham and Tommy Boyles, said Wednesday that they would not accept the appointment if chosen.

"Why would I want to step down and leave a vote that I have now and get a no vote?" Mr. Grantham said. "Besides that, nobody has asked me."

"That would be political suicide," Mr. Boyles said.

Mr. Young, 57, took office in 1999 and was re-elected in 2002. His current term expires in December 2006.

Former Congressman Doug Barnard, one of Mr. Young's political advisers, said that he didn't know what Mr. Young was going to do but that he had brought "wide recognition" to Augusta through his U.S. Conference of Mayors and Historic Preservation Commission committee work.

"Whatever he does, it will benefit the city of Augusta, and it will serve our community," Mr. Barnard said.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.

Bob Young

Age: 57

Job: Mayor of Augusta since 1999

Previous Employment: Anchorman, WJBF-TV Channel 6; WBBQ-FM radio

Family: Wife, Gwen Fulcher Young, owner of Gwen Fulcher Young & Associates; two stepdaughters, four step-grandchildren

Did you know?: He's a direct descendant of Brigham Young; collects Civil War memorabilia