Allenhurst City Councilman Douglas Burgess Jr. stepped down from his position Friday.
Burgess’s resignation is effective immediately, cutting short his four-year term by seven months.
“I kind of stepped back and looked at the big picture. I think in the future I may be able to help the citizens in Liberty County in a different way,” he said. “I won’t say this will be my last bout with politics. I’m finished with Allenhurst. I feel I need a bigger platform. I may use the things (for the future that) I’m connected to now.”
The council usually has a total of three members and the mayor. Even with Burgess gone, as long as the other two members attend meetings, there is enough for a quorum, Allenhurst mayor Thomas Hines said.
“When there’s only two there, I can vote to make four,” Hines said. “There is a quorum with myself and two council members. We’ll have a quorum each meeting until we appoint someone. I have to get with the other council members and we’ll all have to agree on somebody and I hope to do that, if that’s what we have to do, in the next day or so. More than likely, they (the new council member) would be officially appointed at our next meeting.”
Hines said the resignation surprised him since he and Burgess had been discussing the upcoming November election and, the mayor said, the councilman had plans to run again.
“(He) just had some personal things going on and mentioned he needed to move forward and mentioned something about a mission to Africa,” Hines said. “All I know is that according to the charter and ordinances, there is no time limit on when it has to be done.”
Burgess said he needs to move on with bigger plans, including a mission trip next month to Africa. He said he felt he no longer could effect change in Allenhurst through his position.
“People at large, they don’t want change and it’s time to just move on. I respect that. If they want to be a ma-and-pa town, I’m going to let them be a ma-and-pa town. I’m not trying to burn bridges,” Burgess said.
“Allenhurst … that has been a place that has been historical in the United States for a long time — all that has faded into the woodworks. Someone has to try and make a difference. I had to get out of the box and try to make a difference from outside the box. You can influence something better when you aren’t a part of it.”
The former council member said he plans to focus on the start-up of his new nonprofit, HH Foundation, which is dedicated to helping locals find jobs, obtain GEDs and utilize mentoring services. The organization is expected to open officially in November.
In 2005, Burgess moved to Liberty County to be closer to family and soon after was elected to his position on the city council, according to a news release Burgess distributed to announce his resignation.