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No confirmation of mayor’s plan for retirement

Mayor Bill Godbold is on vacation, and sources close to the cityleader are not confirming rumors that his retirement isforthcoming.

“I would not be at liberty to answer any questions about that,”said City Attorney Joe Fernald Monday.

Fernald directed questions to Godbold. The mayor was not in hisoffice and was not at home Monday.

Bonita Bullock, Godbold’s secretary, denied any knowledge of themayor’s plans. She added she has not had any questions about themayor’s future.

“I haven’t had any calls about whether he is retiring orresigning,” Bullock said.

Traffic Supervisor Jimmy Furlow, who has been acting as themayor’s assistant in recent months, had no comment whencontacted.

Bullock said the mayor began a vacation Monday. She said it isexpected to last at least two weeks, but the mayor is “on call”should he be needed to sign documents or handle other citybusiness.

Bullock acknowledged that his absence may have helped fuel someof the rumors about his retirement.

“It’s possible since he’s been out of the office, but hedeserved a vacation,” Bullock said.

Godbold, who turns 77 in June, is in his sixth non-consecutiveterm as mayor. The mayor, who has diabetes, missed a recentspecially-called board meeting and city political observers havefor months expressed concerns about his health and appearance.

In the event of the mayor’s resignation, Bullock, who ischairwoman of the city’s election commission, said the board mayappoint someone if it happens less than six months before nextyear’s election. If the time period is more than six months, aspecial election would be needed, she said.

Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates is the city’s mayor pro tem.

Fernald said Bates would be presiding at city board meetingswhile Godbold is out. The next board meeting is Tuesday at 6:30p.m.