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Rodney Walker to resign from Decatur City Council

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Councilman Rodney Walker speaks during a September council meeting. He resigned on Friday. 


DECATUR — Just over two years after first being elected, Decatur City Councilman Rodney Walker announced Friday that he will resign.

Walker, in a long post on his Facebook page, said his role as an elected official "hindered me in several opportunities" due to conflict-of-interest laws. 

"I had to be ready to go when some of these opportunities knock on the door," Walker said Friday afternoon in an interview with Herald & Review.

"That's how I've been able to survive in Decatur, it's how my family has been able to survive in Decatur. I'm an entrepreneur first and I want to continue to do that in our community."

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Rodney Walker trains with Wyatt Weybright in September at SkyWalker International Sports Complex.

Walker, 47, is the CEO of SkyWalker International Sports Complex, 400 E. Eldorado St., and the Eisenhower High School varsity boys basketball coach. He is a 1991 St. Teresa High School graduate who played professional basketball overseas for eight years before he returned to Decatur.

Walker was elected to the council in 2019, placing first out of seven candidates vying for three seats. He acknowledged that if he were "aware of the limitations from the beginning then I would have never ran for City Council."

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As an example, council members are not allowed to benefit from tax increment financing districts, which are tools used by local governments to leverage future gains in property tax revenue to attract private investment to blighted areas in need of redevelopment. 

"We understand what he's wanting to do with some of these business opportunities that he's referenced," said Assistant City Manager Jon Kindseth. "He was given a choice: either you can pursue the business opportunities or you can continue to serve as councilman, but you can't do both, so to speak."

Walker said he was looking at investment opportunities downtown a few months ago. But, if he did buy property, that tool wouldn't be available to him if he remained a city elected official.

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"A lot of people don't see it, but I believe Decatur's going in the right direction," Walker said. "There's a lot of opportunity here that we've passed up because of the conflict of interest. And I'm just at the point now where I can't continue to keep passing up opportunities."

He said it wasn't necessarily a specific project that led to his decision, but of missing out on opportunities. 

Walker said he plans to officially submit his resignation to Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe at Monday's city council meeting. 

Once it's official, the six remaining members of the city council will have up to 60 days to appoint a replacement, who would serve the remainder of Walker's term, which runs through May 2023. 

Jeanelle Norman, president of the Decatur chapter of the NAACP, said she was "surprised" by the announcement.

“I hope that they will find somebody to replace him and that person will stay for the duration and maybe run (next time) also," Norman said. "I admire the work that he has done at his center and with the youth. I hope they find an African-American. I believe that position should be filled with an African-American.”

Walker is the lone African-American on the seven-person council. Decatur is 21% Black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Moore Wolfe was out of town Friday and could not be reached for comment about the upcoming appointment process. 

Staff writer Valerie Wells contributed to this report. 

Decatur City Councilman Rodney Walker announced Friday that he is resigning.


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