Planning Commission expresses intent to call for resignation of one of its own

The Washington County Planning Commission made several recommendations when its board met Monday, including that a letter be drafted to board member Mark Odom calling for his resignation.

The action comes from allegations by other board members that Odom lied in a statement made in the October 4 meeting about an alleged conversation with Chipley Mayor Tracy Andrews rearding her input on the county’s comprehensive plan.

Vice Chairman John Gay pointed to the Oct. 4 minutes, in which Odom is quoted as saying Andrews and local Realtor Cindy Birge were not satisfied with their lack of input for the ongoing changes to the county’s comprehensive plan. Both women serve on the Affordable Housing Advisory Council.

“I know that Mayor Andrews and Cindy Birge are not satisfied that they have been able to help engineer this [comprehensive plan],” the minutes cite Odom as saying.

Gay said he spoke with Mayor Andrews, and she stated she had not had a conversation with Odom prior to that Oct. 4 meeting.

“I called Mayor Andrews … She said she has never spoken to Mr. Odom in regard to that,” Gay said. “Those comments were misleading and inaccurate to this board.”

Board member Darrin Wall said he concurred with Gay’s assessment.

My understanding is that [Odom] said he did talk to [Andrews and Burge],” said board member Darrin Wall. “I spoke to [Andrews] the following day after that meeting, and she also told me she had not talked to him.”

Gay said he believe Odom should resign from the board.

“Based on the last four or five months and the position Mr. Odom has put the county in – our senior planner and staff, this board, and the county commissioners – and the fact I feel like what he said in the meeting of Oct. 4 in regard to [the minutes], I would like to ask for his resignation,” said Gay.

Chairman David Morris suggested obtaining a signed statement from Mayor Andrews as to the lack of communication between her and Odom.

The board is expected to draft a letter to ask Odom to resign after more research is completed on the proper procedure by attorney Matthew Fuqua.

Washington County News spoke with Mayor Andrews, who confirmed she had not had a conversation with Odom but stated he could have been aware of her views through a conversation he had with Birge. Birge states she did have a conversation with Odom last year in which expressed her disappointment at not being able to provide more input to the comp plan.

“It’s possible that he said he had knowledge of [Andrews’ views] due to that conversation,” Birge said.

Odom, who was not present at the Nov. 1 meeting, says he has no intention of resigning.

“I don’t believe I stated I had personally spoke with the Mayor; I believe I said I was aware that she was not satisfied,” said Odom. “I have requested the audio to confirm, but I don’t believe I said I actually spoke to her.”

Washington County News has requested a copy of the official audio recording of that Oct. 4 meeting; however, that request had not been processed as of Tuesday afternoon.

Board member Kyle Newsome stated he was also in agreement with the action. Members Al Keown and Roger Hagan were not present at Monday’s meeting.