HARTFORD, Ala. (WDHN) — Over the last two weeks, Hartford’s city attorney Jeff Hatcher, City Clerk Leah Jenson, Mayor Neil Strickland, and now the Director of Recreation Nick Holley have decided to leave their jobs and separate themselves from the current city council.
Nine department heads in Hartford have left the job since 2020 — the constant turnover is a major concern for citizens.
“I feel like they have created a situation that I feel is toxic for a lot of city employees and I think the situation the city is in from a financial standpoint is of concern,” said Jenna Brannon.
That’s because an unnamed city official says the city is $2 million in debt. When the current administration took over, they had $3 million in the bank but ended up spending $2 million more on different projects like improving the sewer system and a sidewalk project.
“They had some great financial commitments but without the determination of how it would be paid,” She said.
Brannon was one of 40 citizens in the room questioning the city’s financial status such as how much is in the city’s bank account and whether can they afford to pay their bills, especially with the vacancies of a mayor, city clerk, and attorney.
“I’m just not sure if we know how much money is coming in we didn’t have financial reporting for five months of this fiscal year and I don’t know how the city council can run a city when they do not know how much to spend or what’s coming in,” Brannon said.
Holley, who’s the Director of Recreation until Tuesday morning, said the financial status is the reason he turned in his resignation letter.
He says he has been neglected time after time on getting money from the general fund to make improvements such as resurfacing the tennis courts and installing lights on the basketball court to name a few.
He said the only recreation park in Hartford that holds several sporting events is in complete disarray.
“You got three million dollars you should fix some stuff, but I don’t know this city council we got will spend us into oblivion,” Holley said.
Residents say they are optimistic the city council will make the best decision to fill the vacancies with the right people who can be transparent and lead the city forward.