There is still uncertainty about who will serve as mayor of Northport on January 1st after incumbent Bobby Herndon shocked the city earlier this week by announcing his resignation effective December 31st.

Herndon was first elected in 2008 and served two terms as mayor before he narrowly lost the seat in a runoff with Donna Aaron in 2016.

Aaron, the first woman to hold the office, served a single term before declining to seek re-election in 2020, when Herndon reclaimed the mayor's office in another contentious runoff race.

On Monday night, Herndon clashed with the five-member Northport City Council over plans to rename a stretch of 28th Street in front of his surveying business to Benevolent Way in recognition of Herndon's years of service collecting and delivering supplies to cities in the region in the wake of natural disasters.

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The council adopted a policy earlier this year saying that a street could only be renamed after a person or organization and the proposed renaming would not fit those criteria, but Herndon said the policy was adopted long after he first requested the new name and he could not understand why the council would not grandfather him in and approve the renaming.

The council offered to table a vote on the matter until they could revisit the policy or work with Herndon on another way to honor citizens who have contributed to his disaster relief efforts, but he pressed them for an immediate vote. The resolution died on the council floor when none of the elected officials would second a motion to vote on it.

Herndon resigned at the end of the meeting.

"I appreciate this council, I love them, but I'm sort of hamstrung," he said. "This is something that was going to really benefit the people that helped [disaster relief efforts] but if I can't get support on it -- on something that simple -- then I don't need to be mayor."

The council voted 3-2 to accept his resignation, effective December 31st.

Now the city's leaders are working to decide who will be mayor on January 1st, and state law suggests the title should fall to council president Jeff Hogg.

"In the event of a vacancy from any cause in the office of mayor, [from a city of 12,000 or more inhabitants] the president of the council shall succeed to the office of mayor for the unexpired term," according to Alabama Code.

The second-term councilman told the Thread Wednesday that he is not interested in the job.

"While this situation is unfortunately nothing new for me since last term [when the council filled several vacancies after the death of Councilman Dennis Hambright, the resignations of Councilmen Lee Boozer and Wayne Rose, and the election to state office of Rodney Sullivan], it is still a very sad situation to have to replace someone that the voters put their trust in. And even though numerous outlets have reported State Law in regards to this situation where the Council President will fulfill the role of Mayor for the expiring term, I will not be that guy," Hogg wrote. "Voters of District 5 trusted me with their votes to represent them and this district. My heart lies with the people who believed in me, my passion, and my body of work. I will never desert them and leave them without representation. I gave them my word with my oath and I will faithfully and honestly do as such. A promise is a promise. I was always taught that a man's word is all he has. I look forward to continuing to represent District 5."

City attorney Ron Davis and city administrator Glenda Webb did not answer a request for more information about what comes next in Northport before the publication of this report.

Secretary of State John Merrill told the Thread he was aware of the situation in Northport, but that his office would only get involved if necessary.

Stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for more details as they become available.

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