By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Former Rocky Ford clerk gives no reason for resignation
FBI logo

The former Rocky Ford town clerk, who submitted a letter of resignation Nov. 18, did not list a reason why she vacated the position.

Teresa Mock told the Statesboro Herald on Monday that she did not wish to comment on her letter or elaborate on reasons why she resigned.

Rocky Ford Town Council member Willette Mock, who answered a call to the Rocky Ford Town Hall Monday, said Teresa Mock did not discuss her resignation with the council.

Teresa Mock's resignation letter, dated Nov. 18 and addressed to former Mayor Barry Durden, who also resigned last week, reads: "Dear Mayor Durden and Council: Please accept this letter as notification that I am leaving my position with the Town of Rocky Ford immediately. If I can be of assistance during this transition, please let me know. I will be glad to help at my convenience and at my regular rate of pay."

Durden resigned a couple of days after the former clerk, citing health reasons.

Durden emailed a copy of his resignation letter to the Statesboro Herald upon request Nov. 28. However, both Rocky Ford council members Ken Mock and Willette Mock said then that the town did not have email capability at the time, and more than a dozen faxed requests to the town hall were not successful. The Statesboro Herald mailed a records request to the Rocky Ford Town Council from the Rocky Ford post office Nov. 28.

Willette Mock, who also said she is "filling in" as the town's postmaster, said she received the records request Dec. 1 and mailed a response Dec. 2. The letter arrived at the Statesboro Herald Monday.

Rocky Ford has been at the center of investigation for more than a year, first by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and now by the FBI. The query is in regards to suspicious financial practices, including allegations of mishandled money and unpaid fees to the state.

The GBI probe began in March 2012, and the FBI took over in July.

Statesboro GBI Special Agent-in-Charge Cathy Sapp confirmed the investigation was turned over to the FBI, but she did not say why.

Statesboro FBI agents declined to comment on the matter, citing a policy to not discuss open cases.

In April 2013, Jimmy Hankinson, who was then Rocky Ford's mayor, said the investigation involved state add-on fees for tickets issued that had not been paid since 2003. Durden became mayor after Hankinson's resignation.

In April 2013, Beth Smith was terminated as town clerk. Hankinson first denied rumors that Smith was no longer in office, stating she had been absent for health reasons and was expected to return. However, the town fired Smith soon afterward.

In a letter dated May 7, 2013, addressed to Smith, Hankinson announced Smith's termination after a vote at the council meeting the previous day.

"It is my duty to inform you that the Rocky Ford Town Council voted ... to terminate your employment effective as of that date," the letter reads. "The Council has lost confidence in your ability to properly carry out your duties as city clerk and clerk of the municipal court in part due to your inaccurate reporting to the town council of the town's financial condition."

Smith assisted Rocky Ford Police Chief Pat Kile in keeping financial records for the police department, Hankinson said. Kile also assumed the duty of acting as police department clerk.

Kile remains the town's police chief, working varying hours, and is the only officer at this time.

Teresa Mock was hired as town clerk and served in that capacity until her Nov. 18 resignation.

Willette Mock said the council is working together to handle town business until the positions can be filled. Kathleen Roland is mayor pro-tem.

Willette Mock said Friday that the council does not have computers in the office and that the fax machine was not working. The Rocky Ford Town Hall is only open for operation weekdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.



Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter