ANDERSON — The Madison County Council adopted a resolution calling for the immediate resignation of Steve Sumner from the council.
The resolution asking Sumner to resign was approved 5-1 Tuesday, with Democrat Fred Reese casting the lone no vote and Sumner abstaining.
There was no discussion involving the resolution that was moved for consideration by Republican Mikeal Vaughn and seconded by Republican Anthony Emery.
Sumner, R-2nd District, was arrested and charged on Dec. 21 on Level 6 felony charges of child solicitation and possession of child pornography.
“I have no intentions of resigning,” Sumner said after the meeting. “I knew this was coming. It didn’t surprise me.”
Sumner said the other members of the council can’t force him to resign.
Council President Ben Gale agreed the other council members can’t force Sumner to resign.
“The intent was to give other members of the council time to make their voice heard, what they believe is an appropriate step for Councilman Sumner,” he said. “It’s his decision to make.
“The council members voiced their opinion that the appropriate thing is for him to resign,” Gale said. “We’re hopeful that he will process and think it is best for the council and the county.”
Gale said he believes there is not a way for the remainder of the council to remove Sumner from the council.
Reese said he voted no on the resolution to follow the law.
“Let the court system do their job,” he said.
Emery said there is not much more the County Council can do but request his resignation.
“We want to allow him time to determine the right thing to do is resign,” he said. “There will be other calls from elected officials and the public calling for his resignation.”
Emery said until the court case is resolved this will be a distraction for the council moving forward.
“Members of the public could attend the council meetings to call for his resignation, which will hinder the conducting of business by the council,” Emery said.
The resolution reads that because children are society’s most vulnerable and innocent victims of crime, the allegations are abhorrent and shocking to the conscience.
“While Councilman Sumner is deserving of due process, the allegations diminish his ability to represent the 2nd District of Madison County and render the Council ineffective and unable to carry out its duties,” the resolution reads. “The thoughts and prayers of the Council are with the victims and all those adversely affected and suffering as a result of these allegations.”
The resolution calls for Sumner’s immediate resignation to restore faith in the leadership of the Council and “begin to heal the damage done to our community.”
If Sumner decides to resign, his position would be filled by a vote of the Republican Party precinct committeemen in the 2nd Council District.