Perryville mayor resigns; Decision came in the wake of a recent heated council meeting

Published 10:05 am Thursday, October 19, 2023

Perryville Mayor Carlos Miller has resigned from his position by request from the city council, one week after a heated council meeting.

The council had a special called meeting on Monday, where City Attorney Whitney Johns read Miller’s letter of resignation. Miller was not in attendance at the meeting.

His letter states, “On October 13, 2023 at 1:45 p.m., I was handed a letter from two members of the Perryville city council asking for my resignation immediately. This was signed by all six members of the council.”

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“The reason for them asking was something that took place during the executive session of the council meeting on October 5, of which I am forbidden to share due to state laws. I have enjoyed being the mayor of Perryville even though it was just for a short while.”

“So at their request, at the end of the day on October 13, 2023, I will no longer be the mayor of Perryville. I will continue to help around the city in any capacity that I can. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.”

During the council meeting on Oct. 5, the council had an executive session on a personnel matter and future city government procedures that turned into a heated argument.

In the regular session, Councilor Rob Kernodle had asked Perryville Police Chief Parker Hatter why a police cruiser had been sitting in the parking lot of Perryville City Hall for almost two weeks. Hatter asked Miller to explain.

“I think the mayor can answer that a little bit better than me, it’s with the decal and things like that,” Hatter said in the meeting. “So I’ll kind of defer to him on that, because I think he’s talked to the people about it.”

Miller said there was an instance of insubordination with Perryville Police Officer Nick Paton, so they parked his cruiser at city hall. Miller later told the Advocate-Messenger that Paton was on an unpaid leave of absence.

“The officer is home trying to decide if they want to work for the city or not,” Miller said.

Councilors asked what the instance of subordination was, and Miller said he did not wish to share it publicly, since personnel issues are not public information.

City Attorney Whitney Johns then told the council that Kentucky law allows them to enter executive sessions for discussions that would potentially lead to the appointment, dismissal, or disciplinary action of an employee. The council entered executive session along with Hatter.

During the session, raised voices could be heard. Before the session was over, Hatter exited the closed room and expressed strong disdain working with strict rules from the city government, then left city hall.

The Advocate-Messenger reported that on Oct. 10, Hatter had not resigned as chief but that Paton submitted a resignation notice, despite Miller and Hatter attempting to persuade him to stay.

Miller had been mayor since December 2021, when previous mayor Brian Caldwell resigned mid-term. Miller then won the 2022 election for mayor.

Johns explained that per Kentucky law, Miller’s resignation went in effect at the start of Monday’s special called meeting, and the council did not have to vote to accept the resignation.

The council will decide who fills the mayor vacancy at the next regular council meeting, which will be Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. at city hall.

Per Kentucky law, the vacancy must be filled by a current council member.

While the mayor’s term is usually four years, Johns explained that whoever fills the vacancy will only serve until the next city council election in November 2024.