By NATHAN GREGORY
The Sturgis Board of Aldermen accepted the resignation of one of its members Tuesday.
Quinnia Yates, who joined the board more than two years ago after running unopposed in a special election, resigned as an alderman and moved out of Sturgis to be with family, citing personal illness, Mayor Walter Turner said.
“I hope the town will continue to take steps to renew and grow,” Yates said in her resignation.
The board has set a special election date, Oct. 23, for voters to elect Yates’ replacement. The last qualifying date is Oct. 2.
Yates’ resignation letter was initially presented before the board at its previous meeting on Aug. 7, but was tabled as Turner was absent for the meeting.
Turner said Yates started working quickly to improve the quality of life in Sturgis upon taking office by teaming with members of the Mississippi Development Authority and Mississippi State University to initiate a community assessment.
“She brought in groups of people from businesses, landowners, parks, churches and schools. Each team brought up good things they saw and things where we needed some improvement,” Turner said. “We had at least three meetings with these people. There was a lot of community involvement … (Yates was the main person on that).”
He said her efforts to team with outside opinions were instrumental in improving Sturgis’ aesthetic appeal.
“There are things people see you don’t see when you’re here everyday. It helps to have that outside (perspective). They can give you ideas on what does work and what doesn’t work. They just have a lot of different ideas. They can think outside the box easier than we can,” Turner said. “The biggest thing was town beautification. They looked at that a lot and said we were heading in the right direction. We planted more trees and flowers, and got some unused property cleaned up. Obviously, first impressions of a town are important, (so) that’s helped quite a bit.”
Turner said he wishes the best for Yates in her recovery.
“We hate to see her go. We thank her for her service on this board here in town and hope she has a full and speedy recovery,” Turner said. “We would like to see her come back and visit or even move back here if she is able to at some point.”
Board approval of the resignation was not unanimous. Alderman Wayne McCool suggested the board wait until Alderman Keith Parker, who was absent for the meeting, could be present. Turner said because Yates has moved out of state, she is automatically unable to serve, and a vote to replace her must be held within 30-45 days of the acceptance of her resignation. If the resignation had been turned in and accepted within six months of the next election, a member could have been appointed.
“If she’s already moved, I don’t see how we have any choice but to accept it. Let’s move on,” Alderman Mike Collins said before moving to accept the resignation, which McCool seconded. Alderman Amanda Paige voted against accepting the resignation.
“Her address hasn’t changed,” Paige said after Turner read Yates’ resignation and before the vote to accept.
“She informed me she was moving and she has moved,” Turner said.
“She might be visiting, seeing doctors up there,” Paige said.
“That’s not what she told me. She said she has moved and has submitted her resignation as of Aug. 7,” Turner said.
A motion to set the election date resulted in the same vote breakdown.