November 4, 2010 - Mayor Bill Haslam, saying "this is a fairly extraordinary situation," announced today that he will resign as Knoxville's mayor on January 10, 2011.
Haslam, who was elected on Tuesday to become Tennessee's 49th governor, will be sworn into his new position on January 15, 2010 in Nashville. The mayor, speaking at a press conference in the City County building, said he made the decision to resign in January for two primary reasons.
If he leaves the mayor's office prior to January 9, 2011, - or more than ten months before the next city general election - the city would have to hold a special election, and possibly a runoff election to fill the vacancy. This could cost up to $240,000. The city will still have the upcoming elections in September and November, meaning it would have to go through and pay for at least three elections in less than a year.
The special election would also be held during the heart of the city's budget process and Haslam noted, "I don't think that's a great time to have a transitional situation."
By resigning within 10 months of the next city general election, however, Haslam triggers a city charter provision that calls for City Council to pick the acting mayor - who would serve until the winner of the November mayoral election is inaugurated.
Vice Mayor Bob Becker said Council will select the acting mayor at a specially called meeting on January 10, after the mayor's resignation.
Becker also formally announced Thursday that he will be leaving City Council in January to accept a job in Richmond, Virginia to be with his wife and stepson who reside there.
"I'm moving for family," Becker said. "The job enables me to be the husband and father I want to be."
Haslam, who has been Knoxville's mayor since December of 2003, closed by thanking the members of City Council for the way they worked with him during the past 18 months that he has been both mayor and a candidate for governor. He also thanked the city's employees for their efforts during his two terms in office.