The Saline Courier Weekend

Benton Council names new streets committee chair

Former chair Hamm resigns position as vice-chairman

- By Destin Davis ddavis@bentoncour­

The Benton City Council named a new Streets Committee chairman on Tuesday, moving the former chair to vice chairman.

At the beginning of each year, the City of Benton selects the chairperso­n for each committee.

Alderman Jeff Hamm had served as the chairman of the city’s Streets Committee since 2019.

However, this year, the

City Council opted to name Alderman Frank Baptist the chairman of the committee and have Hamm serve as the vice chair.

Baptist was chairman of the committee before Hamm. At a Streets Committee meeting on Tuesday, Hamm announced his resignatio­n from the position of vice chair with a statement that was critical of the council and the committee.

“I respectful­ly resign my position as vice chair,” said Hamm. “I don’t believe I can work with the chairman. I don’t believe the council, since I’ve lost the confidence and trust of half of the council, that I don’t feel like I can be effective.”

Hamm said he would continue serving as one of the councilmen for Ward 5.

“For that reason, I don’t believe I can serve the city on this committee effectivel­y. I’m going to stay doing my duties in Ward 5 and will assist Alderman Lee as much as we can. I deal with one train of thought and one motto: ‘Where business begins, friendship ceases,’ and I do not deal well with liars, cheaters, and thieves,” said Hamm.

The newly elected chair Baptist said he was sorry to hear that Hamm felt that way and was sorry to hear he tendered his recognitio­n.

Baptist was elected chairman of the committee by one vote.

“Somebody decided they needed to have a new face and it happened to be the person I replaced,” he said. “But I’ve never politicked for the position. I was asked to be on it way back when and I said, well yeah, I’d do it. The council has changed and they decided they needed to change me out,” said Hamm.

“I’m definitely not resigning from the council. I will continue my duty, that’s what I was elected for and I plan on honoring that.”

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