Citing growing concern with his health, Statesboro City Councilman Tommy Blitch made the surprise announcement Tuesday that he will relinquish his District 1 council seat.
The message was delivered in a letter submitted by Blitch, and read aloud by Mayor Joe Brannen near the conclusion of council’s scheduled meeting.
“Dear Mayor, council and citizens of Statesboro, Georgia. It is with a heavy heart that I announce my retirement as City Councilman of District One,” Brannen began. “It has truly been my honor to serve you as an elected councilman. I am sorry that I will not be able to fulfill my current term due to health concerns.”
Blitch, 80, has served as a council representative since 2005. He was re-elected for a second term in District 1 in 2009, defeating William Thomas and Benji Lewis.
Following an ovation from city staff and residents in attendance, Blitch stood alongside other members of council to deliver a short speech concerning the move.
“It has been a pleasure to represent Statesboro. I’ve seen a lot of good changes and loads of improvement,” he said. “This is a tough decision and I hate to do it, but at the same time, I feel like stepping down is the best thing for the city and myself.
“I thank you for your support. I have enjoyed it. I am proud of the City of Statesboro, what it is doing and what it will do,” Blitch said.
With the next election to determine Statesboro’s District 1 representative scheduled more than a year away, the city likely will hold a special election sometime in coming months.
According to City Clerk Sue Starling, the timetable for a special election will be discussed during the next couple of weeks, while Blitch continues to serve as long as health will allow.
Blitch said he likely will continue in his current role for at least one more meeting.
Brannen and other council members wished their colleague the best Tuesday, as he moves forward.
“Tommy, we want to wish you well. We appreciate what you have done for the city, and I know that you will continue to support the city and council,” Brannen said. “It has been an honor to serve with you.”
Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.