Citing high cost, Newport officials opt to appoint replacement mayor

Published: May. 31, 2023 at 6:31 PM EDT
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NEWPORT, Vt. (WCAX) - The Newport City Council met Wednesday for a special meeting in the wake of last week’s sudden resignation of the city’s mayor.

Newport Mayor Beth Barnes resigned May 22 claiming she was bullied and threatened by city councilor members, without providing names or details. She had only been on the job about 11 weeks after being elected in a four-way contest on Town Meeting Day.

The council on Wednesday officially accepted the resignation. Citing the high costs of a special election, Officials say Barnes’ replacement will be appointed.

Some community members are calling Barnes’ departure shocking and saddening. They say the manner of her departure means their votes have been discounted. “Our mayor, Beth Barnes, was taken away from us after we, the city, in a large majority voted,” said one attendee Wednesday.

“I say to them, thank you for electing me. But I am to be of service after my resignation. I will never stop serving the community. But sometimes we have to make really hard choices, and resigning from Newport City mayor -- that was a very hard choice,” Barnes said.

The council is asking anyone who wants to be considered for the position of mayor, to let them know as they work towards making a decision by June 26.

Barnes’ departure comes at the same time as Newport’s city manager retired this week.

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