GARLAND — Town officials announced the resignation of Commissioner Michael Strickland during a special meeting held Tuesday night. Strickland had sent the town a letter which was read aloud by clerk Jennifer Grey.
Strickland was not present at the special meeting.
In the letter, Strickland stated that he appreciated the board’s decision to extend the appointment to him and that it had been a learning experience, however family issues needed to take priority.
Commissioner Strickland said in the letter that he felt “blessed to have served the town of Garland and to experience the tireless dedication, professionalism and humility of the board members.”
“My daughter, who lives with us, recently had a baby,” said Strickland in a telephone interview Wednesday. “I have a lot of family responsibilities and a full time job.”
“I felt like I didn’t have the time to put into the appointment of commissioner,” he continued, adding that not having the time was a disservice to the town of Garland. Resigning, he said, would rectify that.
“There are a lot of retired people on the board,” he said, explaining that it was easier for them to serve because of their schedules.
“I bit off more than I could chew,” he asserted. “I realized that it was going to take more than I could do. I didn’t have the time to follow up like I would have liked.”
Board members expressed their sadness at his resignation, and said that they knew he had a lot of responsibilities.
“I hate that he quit it,” said Mayor Pro Tem Haywood Johnson in a telephone interview Wednesday. “But he’s a working man. He has his animals, and Strickland said he hated to do it.”
“He has a lot going on,” said Commissioner Carolyn Melvin. “He has cows, and he is farmer. Plus he has his regular job as a physical therapist.”
“He is a good guy and we are going to miss him,” added Melvin.
“He was a big help, especially physically,” expressed Johnson. “He was right up in there until the last.” Johnson said that when the town had a problem with its fire hydrant, Strickland was there to help them get the situation under control.
“He helped set that hydrant back in and that closed up,” Johnson shared.
“I hated that he resigned,” said Commissioner SJ Smith in a telephone interview Wednesday. “He just has so much going on.”
“He was a good board member, and good to work with,” Smith added. “It takes a lot of time. We will miss him.”
“He helped any way that he could when he was off (work), and he would work on stuff,” said Smith. “He was very helpful.”
Mayor Winifred Murphy said that she was sorry that he had given in his resignation.
“I was looking forward to working with him,” said Murphy. “I am sorry he wasn’t able to stay. I understand that he had family obligations, but he had the town’s best interests in mind.”
Commissioner Strickland was appointed in November of last year. The board has not made a decision yet on how they will proceed with finding a replacement. The appointment will be placed on the agenda for the next regular board meeting on May 13.
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122. Follow us on Twitter: @SampsonInd