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Ken Russell storms out of Miami City Commission meeting after 'resigning'

CBS Miami
CBS Miami
 2022-11-18

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Commissioner speaks to CBS4 after abrupt resignation 02:32

MIAMI -- City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell, set to leave office early next month, hastily announced that he was quitting the panel on Thursday after two of his fellow commissioners suggested scrapping next month's scheduled meeting.

"You can expect my resignation to be re-written this afternoon and count it for today because I'm done."

Russell stormed out upset. The December 8th meeting was supposed to be Russell's last as District 2 commissioner before he would officially step down after serving seven years.  After Russell left, the commission voted 3-1 to move the meeting to January.

Russell spoke with CBS4 hours after his abrupt resignation.

"So to pull the rug and defer, take away my last meeting, that's meant to take a longer holiday."

"Does it feel personal?"

"I can't even worry about that because if I lost sleep over the personal jabs on a city commission dais, I'd never get any sleep."

That Dec. 8 meeting would have been Russell's last meeting before he left office, and it was clear that he did not want that session scrapped.

"If the City of Miami commission doesn't want to work, we shouldn't take a salary," Russell tweeted Thursday evening. "Canceling the scheduled Dec commission mtg gives us nearly 2 months of holiday without a mtg. I'm not here for that."

Russell tells CBS4 he would return if the December meeting happened as previously scheduled.  He hopes for one last meeting to push for projects to create affordable housing in Little Bahamas and a home for foster children transitioning out of the system.

Commission Ken Russell speaking during the Nov. 17,, 2022 meeting. CBS 4

Russell was set to discuss a rezoning proposal before an expected vote next week on a Coconut Grove rezoning plan, which the commission member had spent six months preparing.

Faced with the prospect of that proposal being scuttled if the December meeting was scrapped, Russell exploded.

"The simple cordiality of this body to each other to respect each other's ability to get the work done for our residents is being thrown in the garbage right now," he said. "So you can expect my resignation to be re-written this afternoon and count if for today. Because I'm done. This is an absolute farce."

But Russell told CBS 4 News later that he has not officially submitted his resignation paperwork to the city and that he could return if his colleagues agree to hold their meeting on Dec. 8.

Under state law, Russell is required to resign before the end of his second four-year term when he ran for a seat in the U.S. Congress.

In August, he lost the Democratic primary for Florida's 27th Congressional District to Annette Taddeoo.

He was set to leave office on Jan. 3.

CBS4 reached out to all the commissioners and the mayor for comment. They either did not respond or declined to speak.

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