HIGH POINT, N.C. —On Thursday, 6 of 9 High Point City Council members voted in favor of a resolution to ask Mayor Bernita Sims to officially resign from office.
Council members said they have been bombarded by phone calls asking for them to force Mayor Sims to resign. However, on Thursday, no members of the public spoke in favor of Sims resigning. Everyone who spoke was in favor of Sims remaining in office.
There were people in the audience who favored the resolution, but they chose not to speak to council or to FOX8.
"What you did today--it opened up a can of worms. We are not the High Point of old," one community member said, adding that she believed Sims' personal business should remain private.
Mayor Sims reiterated she will not resign from office.
"Judge me on my work, judge me on what I do. Don’t judge me on a utility bill that has paid. Don’t judge me on an allegation around a check… that has been paid. Judge me on whether or not we’re doing the work, and I would say we are," said Mayor Sims.
Despite the meeting, city council members have no legal right to force Sims to leave office and there is no recall system in High Point. However, council members wanted their opinions heard and their thoughts on the record.
"People are concerned and frustrated. I have received large amounts of emails and phone calls and had numerous face to face discussion with citizens from all over our city. overwhelmingly they have expressed their displeasure with the mayor," said Council member Britt Moore.
He continued, saying many felt the high office of mayor had been compromised. "There's now a lack of credibility and trust in this council and many are asking for resolution and change," he added.
Council members Douglas and Golden voted alongside Sims against the resolution. Several speakers who spoke expressed a concern that the vote was along racial lines.
Council member Becky Smothers said race had nothing to do with their votes. "I did not ask her in that vote to consider resignation because she was female or she was black. It's all about a leadership example."
Mayor Sims said last week she has received about twenty calls and emails from people asking her to resign. "But when you win by 34 percent of the vote and you get 20 emails," she questioned. "To me that’s not indicative of the number of people who elected me."
Mayor Sims has been in the spotlight recently after the SBI investigated her for allegedly writing a bad check.
Documents also showed she had neglected to pay city utility bills and owed thousands of dollars in taxes. The city was asked to garnish her wages in order to pay back those debts to the state.
"The issue surrounding the $7,000 check? It has been paid. The issue around the utilities? Have been paid. The issue around the taxes have subsequently been paid. So I look at all that? Is it news? Maybe so," she paused. "There are politicians out there with much larger issues than I have."
The next city council meeting in High Point is on Monday, and council members invited members of the community to come speak if they did not have a chance to do so today.