The following is a press release issued by the City of Fort Bragg:
Mayor William V. Lee, who has been a member of the Fort Bragg City Council since winning a seat on the Council in November 2016, has announced his resignation effective December 31, 2020. In a letter to Fort Bragg residents, Mayor Lee stated:
~To my friends and neighbors of the City of Fort Bragg~
With deep respect and admiration to all the great people of Fort Bragg,
announce my resignation as your elected official to the City Council
effective 11:59 pm, December 31, 2020. One of the great honors in my life has been serving you on the City Council for the past four years. I am humbled by the trust and confidence you’ve demonstrated to me and the support of thousands of you on our journey to make our community a much better place to live and to raise our families together. You are hard-working, dedicated people looking for the best life for all of us that are lucky enough to call this amazing coastline home. We are faced with many challenges right now and I am sure we will all emerge stronger and more resilient together.
I am proud that we have achieved a balanced budget the past few years that we are guided with strong leadership on the Council and a talented City Manager, a great City Hall staff and a very well- trained police force. The future of our City looks bright, and working together we can accomplish many of our goals and wishes for the next generation to follow us.
I have been offered a new position out of town, and after much reflection, I accepted the offer as a career advancement. This was certainly not an easy decision to make with all my obligations to the City, to the Coast Hospital and to my faith community as president of the Parish Council of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church. After prayer and meditation, I decided to make this transition now. I think this is the best decision for me and for my family, and I ask for your prayers and good wishes. Denis and I will maintain our home here in Fort Bragg
so we will continue to be a part of this community and remain active in our social circles and our volunteer activities.
Being a public servant is one of the great vocations in our society and I take that responsibility seriously and with a focused desire to improve our community to the best of my ability. The hundreds and hundreds of hours of reading and preparation were all worth it to ensure I made the best decisions I could to make life better for our people. I must say the most difficult part of my public service was the personal attacks on me when all I tried to do was make the best decisions I could at the time. Our political discourse is poisoned by a few in our community intent on destroying people’s reputation and not on creating better
solutions for our citizens. Please be kind to one another. It’s totally OK to
disagree, but let’s treat each other with respect and in a spirit of cooperation and compromise for the greater good.
I ask God for abundant blessings on you, your families and all the people of this wonderful town.
Will Lee, Mayor
During this year’s nomination period, only two candidates qualified for the two available Council seats. At a special meeting on August 13, the City Council voted to cancel the November 3, 2020 general municipal election, and William Lee was appointed to a new four-year term on the City Council by a unanimous vote (with Lee recusing). Vice Mayor Bernie Norvell was also appointed to another four-year term.
On Monday, December 14, 2020, Bernie Norvell and Will Lee will take the oath of office and a vote will be held to select a new Mayor and Vice Mayor.
The City Council will have sixty days from the date of the vacancy, or by March 1, 2021, to either (a) appoint someone to serve the first two years of the remainder of Lee’s four year term, with an election in November 2022 to determine who will complete the remaining two years of Mayor Lee’s term, or (b) call a special election to elect someone to fill the vacancy through the end of his term in November 2024. Conducting a special election would cost approximately $15,000.