Florida mayor says shocking resignation over 'reckless' spending 'goes beyond' party lines: 'No regrets'
Now-former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard rage-quit during city council vote on spending plan
After rage-quitting during a city council vote over spending plans, former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard said he has "no regrets" about his decision.
"There'll be things that I will miss. I've been involved as mayor on-and-off for 13 years, so certainly there are some things that I'll miss," Hibbard said on "Varney & Co." Monday. "But sometimes you just have to stand by what you believe in, and that's what I did last Monday."
The Florida mayor abruptly resigned during a city council meeting after disagreeing with the "reckless" way local leaders were spending taxpayers’ dollars.
"I'm concerned where the city is going because this is simple math and we're not doing very well on the test," Hibbard said at a budget meeting Monday. "In good conscience for my family, for my own health and other things, I can't remain the mayor."
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Hibbard, who as mayor voted like a councilmember, was the lone city council voice who opposed constructing a $90 million city hall and municipal building. Clearwater, already facing a quarter billion dollar shortfall for other projects, should be more careful with its resources, Hibbard told host Stuart Varney.
"The list we were looking at was a quarter of a $1 billion deficit, and we're talking about building a new city hall and what we call the ‘municipal services building,’ which is only 26 years old," Hibbard explained. "No one tears their house down after 26 years. Most people haven't even paid it off."
While Clearwater’s city council is nonpartisan-led, Hibbard openly identified himself as a member of the GOP and claimed his decision wasn’t a political play.
"I am a Republican, but this goes beyond which party you're affiliated with. This goes to common sense, and being creative and finding solutions," the former mayor said.
Media attention from Hibbard’s unexpected resignation might be "the only way" for his message to resonate deeper with Clearwater constituents.
"This may be the only way that I could get through to citizens, to get this story covered, and now they're the ones who are going to have to stop this," he said. "And I think from the feedback I've received, they probably will."
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Hibbard, who works full-time as a financial adviser and wealth manager, served as mayor from 2005 to 2012 and was re-elected to another four-year term in 2020. He had already announced that he would not seek re-election in 2024.
"I don’t want anybody freaking out right now about this," Clearwater councilmember David Allbritton said after Hibbard’s resignation. "We’ve got enough people up here to make the decisions and keep everything on track, and that’s what we plan to do today."
Fox News’ Jon Michael Raasch contributed to this report.