Tallassee Mayor Johnny Hammock said he was simply tired of the fight.
Two years into his second four-year term, Hammock announced on Wednesday that he was stepping down as mayor of Tallassee, ending a tumultuous year for the mayor and city council. Hammock’s final day will be June 30.
“At the end of the day, I just felt like me and the council had two different visions for the future of Tallassee and we just weren’t getting anywhere,” Hammock said Thursday afternoon. “I’m a conservative, and I just can’t see sitting around taking the money from the city when I won’t be able to accomplish what I’d like or do the job the people deserve. So I thought it was best for everyone if I step aside and allow the council to go their own way.”
Hammock said the decision was not a surprise to some on the council and that he began discussing the idea several weeks ago. He also said that he was not asked to resign, nor is he doing so because of legal issues.
Instead, Hammock said it just makes more sense to step down.
“This way they can take the direction that they want and I can move forward into private business,” Hammock said. “I think it serves everyone, including the people of Tallassee, the best.”
Hammock’s troubles with the council are well known by now. Last year, he publicly chided several city business owners, including at least one council member, for taking Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) money from the federal government despite many of their businesses never losing money. He also notified the FBI of what he thought were several cases of fraud in the program in Tallassee.
That set off a firestorm within the small town just east of Montgomery. Months of public bickering followed for Hammock and the council.
Then in January, Hammock was arrested for domestic violence while on a trip with his wife in Orange Beach. The details of the abuse and the arrest quickly became public fodder. Hammock filed for divorce and claimed in court filings, which included photos and video, that his wife was the aggressor.
More recent court documents, however, show that Hammock and his wife are attempting to reconcile. The divorce proceedings were rescheduled so they could attend marriage counseling and Hammock’s wife dropped her request for a protective order against him.
Hammock said working with his wife – the two own a pet grooming and boarding business together – and growing their business was one reason he wanted to step down. He also plans to focus more on his consulting business and working with municipalities and cities around the state.
“I really loved this job and working for the people of this city,” Hammock said. “I’m proud of a lot of the things we accomplished here. I wish it had ended different than this. But I always promised to do what was best for this town and this is what’s best.”