COVINGTON -- Mayor Kim Carter made the surprise announcement that she will not seek re-election at the end of Monday night's council meeting.
While Carter said she believes much progress has been made during the last four years, she blamed tensions on the City Council for her decision not to run again.
Carter said some council members are more concerned with "controlling the reins of political power" than serving the citizens. She cited surprise motions, premeditated amendments to the agenda, pre-arranged votes, whispered conversations during meetings and a "general refusal of some to discuss the business of the people in the light of day."
Carter said some members are attempting to change the charter to weaken the mayor's powers.
Carter said some council members are more concerned with who gets to pick the next city manager following current City Manager Steve Horton's upcoming retirement, than ensuring that the transition is smooth and that the city remains in good leadership.
She also said the council spent months crafting a strategic plan only to vote down elements of that plan without explanation or acknowledgement.
"I will be the first to readily accept and welcome differences of opinion, strong debate and dissenting voices. In fact, that is the basis of all good government and all good business," she said. "But deliberate attempts to deny the people we serve an open, transparent, honest and reasoned discussion of the actions is a serious violation of the open, transparent city government that I campaigned for four years ago, is something I can't live with and is something as mayor I am powerless to stop."
Carter said she can't imagine campaigning for another four years when the reality of the outcome of her campaign promises is dependent on the council and "I quite frankly have lost a bit of faith in some of the wisdom of some actions."
"I have never been one to shy away or run away from a challenge, but sometimes when the obstacles are members of your own team, it's a no-win situation and it is sad to see our government at all levels lose so much civility," she said. "The last thing I want to do is make this personal or disrespect a single person here. We have all made deep personal sacrifices to serve. But sadly, some of this has become personal, and when the vital tasks of leadership are lost in petty squabbles, the business of our people suffers. I can only hope that with my exit, the council will set aside personal agendas and will return to doing what is best for all the citizens of Covington."
Carter said her "heart is extremely heavy with sadness" regarding her decision, but that she will continue to look for other avenues to serve the community.
"My passion to serve remains, but this particular journey has run its course. I've made mistakes as we all have. But I will assure you I've never given anything less to this job than my best effort," she said.
Carter's term will end Dec. 31.
So far two candidates, Ronnie Johnston and Bobby Sigman, have announced intentions to qualify for mayor. Qualifying for the November Municipal Election takes place Aug. 29 -- Sept. 2.