Becky Cloyd resigns from Pekin City Council
Becky Cloyd says resigning from the Pekin City Council will give her more freedom in her pursuit to foster change in the community.
“I feel that I can do more to contribute to the city of Pekin not being a council member, and being bound by the restrictions that come with being a council member,” Cloyd said Monday in an interview with WCBU after she announced her plans to resign on social media.
“The people are the ones who should be making a difference, and my desire is to make a difference and lead by example as a citizen and not someone who's an elected official. I believe that this decision is going to allow me that opportunity to do so.”
“I feel that I can do more to contribute to the city of Pekin not being a council member, and being bound by the restrictions that come with being a council member.”Becky Cloyd
Cloyd said she would not be at Monday night’s city council meeting. City manager John Dossey told WCBU the city has not yet had any communication with Cloyd, and that according to state statute the resignation would not be official until it is submitted in writing, signed and notarized.
In her social media post, Cloyd said she made the decision with “mixed emotions,” and that she intends to “take a short sabbatical.”
Cloyd played a key role in the council’s split vote last October to oust former City Manager Mark Rothert. Former Mayor Mark Luft pointed to Rothert’s removal as one of the reasons he chose not to seek re-election and ultimately stepped down before the end of his term.
Cloyd launched her own campaign for mayor, which saw a challenge to her nominating papers upheld by the Pekin election commission chaired by Luft. She successfully appealed that decision in court, but eventually lost to Mary Burress in April’s three-candidate mayor’s race.
Burress said she was shocked and surprised when she heard about Cloyd’s decision to step down.
“I did put a call into her about 2 o'clock, stating that I do need something in writing if she feels this is the decision she wants to go, and I wish her luck,” said Burress. “I really don't know why she resigned, or is resigning. I want no ill will on anyone.
“If she feels that she needs to move on, then that is her decision. I'm trying very hard to pull the council together, and I want to do what is right for our city. We are making some great improvements.”
The divisiveness that’s embroiled the council for more than a year has persisted, with Cloyd and Burress clashing frequently.
“When I originally decided to get on the council, that was with the desire to do the best that I could for the city of Pekin to see changes in the city and the community in which I live,” said Cloyd. “However, since the election, we now have a new leadership team and the new administration, and my desire will not be able to be fulfilled under this administration because it's counter-productive. It is going in the opposite direction that I think the city of Pekin should be going, and I cannot support the way that it's going because it is not what's best for Pekin.”
“If she feels that she needs to move on, then that is her decision. I'm trying very hard to pull the council together, and I want to do what is right for our city. We are making some great improvements.”Mary Burress, Pekin mayor
Burress admitted she and Cloyd didn’t always see eye to eye and often voted differently. The mayor said the feedback she’s heard from residents, specifically over Veterans’ Day weekend, indicates Pekin is headed on the right path.
“The voices out there, they love the direction the city's going in. They love the positiveness coming from City Hall, and I'm very honored and very pleased that the citizens are talking that way,” said Burress. “So I feel it is going in the right direction. We've got some great leadership, starting with our new manager (Dossey), our new police chief (Seth Ranney). We just hired an EDC (economic development) director. So, it's going in the right direction.”
Cloyd did not elaborate on specific disagreements that precipitated her decision to step down, but she eluded to communication breakdowns.
“I understand behavior, and actions truly do speak louder than words – and the words I hear mean nothing,” she said. “Just like if you're watching somebody communicate with someone else, 90% of communication is body language; it's not the spoken word. The same is true for leadership: It's not what you say, it's how you are – and that is missing.”
Cloyd disputed any suggestion that personality conflicts factored in her choice to step down.
“I have worked in the ‘people’ field my whole life, because I love people. I'm not saying people don't get on my nerves, but I do love people,” she said. “Certain individuals have – actually, I would say we all have our own agendas. My agenda is to make a difference and to educate people and empower people. The administration currently is not empowering people; they're strengthening themselves and that's harmful to the people. And I can't stand behind that anymore.”