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Hammock with Gov. Kay Ivey in 2018

Hammock resigns, council reviews steps for replacement

By Michael Butler

Tallassee mayor Johnny Hammock has tendered his resignation. Hammock, who was in his second term, will step down officially on June 30.

"It has been an honor and privilege to serve as mayor for the past six years," Hammock noted in a press release. "I am proud of the work we have accomplished that has moved Tallassee forward with much needed infrastructure improvements, a new high school, public safety requirements and procurement of millions in grant dollars."

Hammock said he will transition to the private sector to "help other municipalities, counties and businesses." He is already operating Hammock Consulting, an agency that works in business, community and economic development.

Hammock was first elected as mayor in 2016. He was picked by citizens for another term in 2020. With an additional year being added to terms this cycle to avoid having municipal elections during presidential election years, Hammock's term was to expire in 2025. Now the council will seek his replacement to complete the three years remaining.

That replacement could come from within the seven council members. Accoring to state statute, the vacancy may be filled "from its own membership or from without the membership of the city council."

The Code of Alabama 1975 Section 11-44G-2 goes on to detail that if the position is unfilled within 60 days, each council member may submit a name to the governor for appointment.

"If the governor fails to make an appointment from any submitted names within 90 days after the vacancy occurs, the judge of probate shall call a special election to fill the vacancy."

Hammock was seeking state office in the recent race for public service commission. Hammock was third overall in the four-candidate race in May.

In October of 2021, Hammock's municipal position of superintendent of utilities was taken away including $50,000 annual salary that came with it.

In November of 2021, Hammock and other city personnel were cited for wrongdoing as the city council turned findings over to the state for an investigation. Hammock countered with a lawsuit against the city seeking compensatory damages.

The council's resolution laid out allegations against Hammock for harrassment and harrassing communications and purchase of equipment, goods and services without the approval of the council.

"Changes in personnel have been made to address some of these issues," the council added in a statement, "and the council remains resolute in their mission to fix any remaining matters."

Hammock is the third person named in the council's resolution who will be replaced. Building Inspector Andy Coker and Tallassee Police Chief Matthew Higgins each stepped down last year.

Claims against city clerk Whitney Pitchford have been dismissed by the Alabama Ethics Commission.

"The council has been working to address several reported issues in and around the city," the council noted in a January press release after Hammock was arrested in Baldwin County on domestic violence charges. "The council requests that citizens understand there is a process in resolution to these matters."

"I have full confidence in the Tallassee City Council," said Hammock, "with their succession plan and moving Tallassee forward in the future."