Niceville City Councilman Resigns At January Meeting

Niceville City Councilman Resigns At January Meeting

Niceville City Councilman Abner Williams gave his resignation at January 9th's council meeting. Here's what he said and what happens next.

Niceville City Councilman Abner Williams announced his immediate resignation from his position, effective immediately, at Niceville City Council’s January 9th Meeting.

Williams, Elected in 2021, told his former colleagues and the audience members at the meeting and in an interview with Mid Bay News after the meeting that he was resigning due to personal family reasons.

“I just think it’s best for me and my family to kind of step back and spend a little time with my wife and family and take care of issues that we are having,” Williams said in an interview after the meeting.

In a later text, Williams added, “This was a tough decision. The path I’ve trodden, from the State Penitentiary to local politics, may not follow the conventional trajectory of an elected official. However, my motivation has always stemmed from a sincere desire to effect positive change, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. It’s been an honor to contribute, albeit modestly, to the betterment of our cherished community. As I take this step back, please understand that my commitment to our town persists. Though my role may evolve, my dedication to serving and supporting our community will endure.
Words can’t convey my deepest gratitude for the kind words and unwavering support that I received from city staff & all citizens tonight. It’s been an honor to serve.”

Williams pleaded no contest to selling ecstasy and witness intimidation after arrests by Fort Walton Beach and Niceville Police in 1989, when he was 19 years old.

The crowd, other city council members, and staff wore shocked expressions on their faces as the meeting ended. Councilwoman Cathy Alley hugged Williams after he concluded his speech. At least 30 people, including city council members, members of the public, and staff, came to thank Williams for his service on the council.

“I love the support. It really is the reason why I actually got involved in the first place. I truly have a great heart for this community,” Williams said in an interview after the city council meeting, “This is such a great community. It’s not going to be anything for someone to step in and absolutely do what’s right for this community.”

What Happens Next?

You have to look back ten years to find the last record of an appointment to the Niceville City Council. Current City Councilman Sal Nodjomian was selected to fill the role after a previous councilperson died. Nodjomian would win his first full term in 2015. 

Per the city charter, the city council will appoint a replacement councilperson who will serve until the next election for the seat, which will take place in March 2025. 

City Manager David Deitch is in charge of organizing a meeting to appoint a person to the city council to take Williams’ place. Deitch told the council he would have a plan in place before the next council meeting in February. 

According to City Clerk Dan Doucet, anyone who meets the requirements of a candidate can serve as a councilperson – but the charter suggests pulling someone up from the City’s Planning and Zoning Council. “They have zoning and planning experience,” Doucet said. The vast majority of issues that come before the city council have to do with planning and zoning. “But you can appoint anyone you want to,” Doucet added.

Any resident of the city 18 or older who’s registered to vote in Niceville, and who qualifies for election can run for the position.   

Statement Read By Councilman Abner Williams To The City Council At His Resignation

“Regrettably, due to personal circumstances, which I don’t want to go into, I’m compelled to relinquish my responsibilities as a councilman. It’s been a privilege to serve the City of Niceville and its citizens in this capacity and uphold the principles of civic duty and governance. These experiences garnered during my tenure have been invaluable. Fostering and enhanc[ing] the appreciation for the complexities of municipal administration and the needs of our community. And I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to the city council, city staff, constituents of Niceville for their unwavering support and collaboration throughout my time here on the city council. I’ve got a profound respect and admiration, that I want to acknowledge the dedication exhibited by all stakeholders in advancing the welfare and prosperity of our city. I [want to] express my profound appreciation and just want to thank everyone for giving me the opportunity and letting me serve this [city]. Thank you.”

Christopher Saul

Christopher Saul

Christopher Saul is the publisher of Mid Bay News. He graduated from Southern Methodist University's School of Journalism with a Convergance Journalism Degree and a Master's Degree in Public Administration From Florida State.

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