Community leaders ask Millington mayor to step down

(WMC-TV) - A group of Millington community leaders met with Mayor Richard Hodges Friday night to ask him to step down over allegations of official misconduct.

In October, the District Attorney charged Hodges with two counts of bribery following allegations he gave a local business owner city resources to pay back illegal gambling debts.

Hodges will have his first board meeting Monday since his arrest.  Action News 5 has learned a group of community leaders met with the mayor Friday to ask him to resign before the meeting takes place.

None of the community leaders were willing to talk on camera, but they said they arranged the meeting at an undisclosed location and some alderman attended as private citizens.

They said the goal was not to pronounce Hodges guilty, but to spare the city more distraction from the case so Millington could focus on city-related issues and move forward.

Some community leaders who attended the meeting said they were surprised the media had heard anything, as it was supposed to be a private plea to Hodges.  They felt Hodges broke the pact after he told people he was asked to resign at Friday's Millington High School football game.

Some community leaders who attended the meeting said Hodges agreed to step down on two conditions: that they also remove the police chief and that Hodges could name his successor.

Some aldermen said the probe is tearing the city apart.  They described the situation as a three-ring circus and said the leadership is getting tainted.

They told Action News 5 they have had meetings with the city attorney on how to handle the situation, but they cannot take action because no one has been convicted in the case.

The community leaders said they are hopeful Millington will be able to move past this awkward situation.

Hodges spoke briefly with Action News 5 by phone Saturday.  He said he viewed the meeting as a conversation amongst friends.

Hodges never mentioned the two conditions for his resignation, and said if and when he resigns, it would be after he consults with his attorney.

Hodges also stressed that he did not initiate any conversation about what happened in the meeting.  He said he only answered questions posed to him.

The police chief said he cannot comment on anything he did not hear first-hand.

Monday night, Millington will have its first Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting since Hodges' arrest.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.