EAST MOUNTAIN — The city of East Mountain was left with one employee on its payroll Monday night as the city secretary and assistant secretary both resigned.
At the same time, the City Council changed hands as newly elected members were sworn into office and a new mayor pro tem appointed.
City Secretary Lanora Hathcock, with the city since 2012, and Assistant City Secretary Whitney Brown, who has been in the position since 2013, both submitted their resignations effective Thursday to the council.
The City Council unanimously accepted their resignations, leaving interim Police Chief Matt Graham as the only person on the city payroll.
The city's former police chief resigned amid lawsuits the city faced, and the rest of the police force, except Graham, also resigned from their posts about the same time to accept other jobs.
Before voting to accept their resignations, the council unanimously named Marc Covington as mayor pro tem. Dwayne Brown, who was serving as mayor pro tem, did not seek re-election.
Covington told residents the city already is speaking with someone about filling at least one of the vacated jobs, but he didn't have a timeline for when the city might get someone hired except to say as quickly as possible.
Residents asked about the status of getting someone in the office because they were concerned about issues such as paying their water bills.
Hathcock and Brown handled much of the city's day-to-day functions such as accepting water payments, maintaining a database of water customers, processing receipts and payments for the city included as part of maintaining its financial records, reviewing and responding to public information requests that are filed, and simply being in the office to answer questions and to provide assistance to residents. Hathcock also was present at council meetings to record the meetings and take notes that were used to create official minutes for each meeting.
Also at Monday's meeting, Lester Glover and Charles Medlin were sworn in to office. Incoming Councilman Gari Bellis was not at the meeting, so could not be sworn in. Glover, Medlin and Bellis each ran unopposed in the city's election. They replace Councilmen Dwayne Brown, Lindley Huggins and Terry Carter, who are leaving office and did not seek re-election.
Former Mayor Neal Coulter already resigned from his position amid the same lawsuits that led to the police chief's resignation.
Because Covington, who was elected in 2016, was named mayor pro tem, his former seat is open on the council.
Council members in East Mountain serve two-year terms, so one year is left on Covington's council seat term. The council has the option either to appoint someone to the position for one year, call a special election to fill the term or leave the seat vacant until the next election in May 2018 when that seat would be up for election.
Covington also has just one year on his term as mayor before that seat will be up for election. Covington declined to comment Monday night on his plans for the city as its newest mayor.