"It has been a pleasure to serve the city of Marshall and also to work with all of you," Latimer told the council as she left the room. She didn't say much else because she was already becoming choked up.
Latimer handed over her gavel to council member and Mayor Pro Tem Lorna Alexander.
"We all know how hard Connie has worked as mayor and what a great job she has done," Alexander said.
She added, "She wants to do the best for the city as well as for the people of the community ... and she wants us to do the same."
City Clerk Janet French then read Latimer's letter of resignation to the council and audience.
"Please accept this as my official resignation from the position of Mayor. It has been an extreme honor and pleasure to serve the citizens of Marshall as part of your team. It's an experience I'm grateful for and will never forget," the letter stated.
Alexander presided over the rest of the meeting, when council member Ron Duvall moved to appoint Latimer as the city administrator. Those council members present voted unanimously to do so; Gabe Ramsey was absent.
Council member Vince Lutterbie questioned the salary that Latimer would receive.
"Charlie worked his way up to that amount," he said, but also noted that "it is a budgeted item."
Duvall recommended that Latimer receive an annual salary of $62,000, about $5,000 less than what was budgeted for previous City Administrator Charles Tryban, and it was approved by the council.
After the meeting adjourned, Alexander commended the council for the action it took. She said Latimer's tenure as mayor, working with Tryban for seven years and filling in for him since his retirement, made her qualified to be chosen for the administrator's job.
She noted that because she works out of town, she would be available at different times than Latimer has been, but she urged citizens who wish to speak to her about city issues to call city offices and she will respond as soon as possible.
She also noted that the new city administrator will also be available to help.
Latimer noted that her ties to the community and her long experience serving in city government provide her with practical qualifications for the job that compensate for her lack of degree in public administration.
She served five years on the park board, six years on the city council and seven years as mayor.
Still, some critics have questioned whether someone without a degree in public administration is qualified to serve as a city administrator.
"If I didn't believe I could do this job, I wouldn't have entertained this idea," she said. "Am I going to stumble? You betcha. Working side by side with somebody, you learn a lot, (but) there were things that were automatic with Charlie, so we didn't discuss them. There's also things I learned that I think I can bring to the table" that someone else might not.
She quoted a supporter who'd urged her to accept the city administrator job.
"He said, 'She's had her finger on the pulse of Marshall for more than 20 years. You can't beat that with 15 pieces of paper,'" she said.
Of critics, she said, "I'll just have to prove that they're wrong."
Prior to Latimer's resignation, the council heard routine committee reports.
Duvall, a member of the community development and code committee, said $83,000 in construction occurred in Marshall in January 2010. A total of 26 permits was issued, and $419 was collected in fees.
Lutterbie brought three names to the council for promotion from second class to first class officer with the Marshall Police Department. Brennan Wade, Sam Gibson and Luis Perez were all approved for their promotions.
In the municipal services and personnel committee report, council member Sam Moten said solid waste collections totaled 602.3 tons in January, compared to 670.6 in December 2009 and 595.5 in January 2009.
Traffic at Marshall Memorial Airport was down to 37 planes from 94 in December 2009 and 216 in January 2009.
In other business, the council approved an ordinance amending the city's occupational license codes.
This measure is mainly "to clean up discrepancies" in the current system for business licenses, attorney Don Stouffer said. It will "make sure that all licenses be granted from whatever day they're issued to the following March 1" and then be renewed annually after that.
The council's next regularly scheduled meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 5:15 p.m. in the City Office Building.
Marshall mayor may seek city administrator position: