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Forsythe resigns as RB mayor

Published 6:04am Wednesday, August 7, 2013

RED BAY – After five years of serving as the city’s mayor, Bobby Forsythe announced his resignation at Monday’s city council meeting citing health issues as the determining factor in his decision.
Forsythe, who was re-elected in 2012 after running unopposed, told council members and those in attendance at Monday’s meeting that he has had glaucoma for nearly six years and the condition has now worsened and would prevent him from fully operating as the city’s mayor.
“I’ve known I’ve had glaucoma for a while now, but I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have,” Forsythe said.
“On July 23, I had an eye appointment to check on a separate matter and my eye doctor told me that I had much bigger problems to worry about.”
Forsythe said his doctor told him the glaucoma had caused 80 percent damage to his optic nerve in his right eye and 60 percent damage in his left eye.
“He told me that if I didn’t get this under control, I would be blind in five years,” Forsythe said.
“That got my attention, and I knew it was time for me to make some changes and start taking better care of myself.
“I could just wait it out and see what happens, but I decided I’m just not willing to take that chance and end up going blind three years from now and miss out on several things that I wouldn’t be able to do if I lost my sight.”
Knowing that changes needed to be made, Forsythe said there was just no way he could continue to be effective as the mayor of Red Bay with his condition.
“With all of the opportunities the city of Red Bay has before them, they need someone in leadership that can devote 100 percent of their time and efforts to this job, and there’s no way I can do that anymore,” Forsythe said.
“I decided that as much as I love this job and what I do, I would not stand in the way of our city’s progress.”
During his tenure as mayor, Forsythe has seen much progress in Red Bay from infrastructure upgrades, updates in the city sewer system, the new 55-acre West Franklin Regional Industrial Park, the establishment of Heritage Park, and seeing the city achieve consistent financial stability.
“I do believe that Red Bay has come a long way in the past five years, but I was only a small part of that equation,” Forsythe said.
“I have had the immense privilege of working with a city council who truly cares about our city – a council who works together, compromises and finds solutions that will benefit our citizens and our town as a whole.
“I have no doubt that the city is in good hands and that they will move forward and continue to grow and progress.
“With the establishment of our industrial park as an AdvantageSite, I believe the city’s future from an industrial standpoint looks very bright, and I can’t wait to see the great things our city’s leadership will be able to accomplish through teamwork and cooperation.”
Forsythe’s official last day in office will be Aug. 16.
Following procedure, Forsythe said the Red Bay City Council will have 60 days to appoint a new mayor, either from within the council or outside the council.
If a candidate is chosen from within the council, an appointment will then be made to fill the vacant council position.
If for some reason the council cannot reach a decision, the governor will then have 30 days to appoint a replacement.
If that option also fails, a special election will be held for a new mayor.
“I was definitely sad to hear the news that Bobby was resigning as mayor, especially since it was due to health reasons,” councilman Brad Bolton said.
“Bobby is not only my colleague but my friend and my neighbor, so first and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with him that his prognosis will improve without the day-to-day stresses of running the city.
“I fully believe that the city of Red Bay is much better off now than when he first took office. Bobby took control of a position that had not been positive and turned it into something very positive.
“His work ethic and leadership will be what I will miss the most.”
Councilwoman Charlene Fancher said she would also miss having Forsythe as past of the city’s leadership team.
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with Mayor Forsythe,” Fancher said.
“He has done an outstanding job leading the city and has represented the city with dignity and pride.
“Working together during our first term, it did not take me long to appreciate the fact that mayor Forsythe took this job for the right reasons – not for the title or the recognition but for the humble passion of making the city a better place through teamwork.
“I am proud of what this administration has accomplished with Mayor Forsythe as our mayor.
“I will certainly miss him, but I respect his decision because there is nothing more important than one’s health and time with family.”
Forsythe said the relationships and friendships he has developed with the council and others during his time as mayor have been a big part of why the decision to resign was so hard.
“I am going to miss being able to help people through my role as mayor and being able to find solutions to people’s problems,” he said.
“The friendships I have made will be something I will cherish for a lifetime.
“This has been a wonderful ride and I thank the people of Red Bay for giving me the opportunity to serve.”

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