CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard shocked his council Monday morning after announcing his resignation in the middle of a special budget work session.

“This is probably one of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my entire life, but I know it’s right because I’m not a quitter,” Hibbard said. “But I’m not the right leader for the council anymore.”

The announcement shocked the council members who had to reassure their staff that the city council would still function as a governing body. Vice Mayor Kathleen Beckman then took charge of the council’s procedures and finished the meeting’s agenda.

Tuesday, the city of Clearwater released a letter from Hibbard officially announcing his resignation.

So now the question remains, who will fill the mayor’s seat?

According to a release from the city, the council will hold a special meeting next week to discuss how they will replace Hibbard. That meeting will be Monday at 1:30 p.m. in the city council chambers at the Clearwater Main Library.

“This special City Council meeting will be to discuss next steps, which includes determining how
to fill seat 1,” the city said in its release.

If the council cannot agree on how to fill Hibbard’s seat within 30 days of March 21, a special election will be needed.