Sanger mayor resigns, citing conflict with council
The mayor of the Central Valley city of Sanger has called it quits.
Joshua Mitchell said last week that he plans to resign, citing persistent conflicts with a majority on the city council. Mitchell says the hostilities have led to threats against him and his family, including the burning of his campaign office and various acts of vandalism.
Mitchell says the councilmembers have driven out top city officials who have sparked an economic revival in the city.
He also blames the council majority for what he calls a threatening atmosphere that has led him to move his family beyond city limits. Mitchell currently lives in a rented home within the city to avoid any residency issues.
The Fresno Bee reports, “Mitchell filed a letter of resignation with Sanger City Clerk Becky Hernandez on Wednesday morning and said he will not attend any more City Council meetings. His resignation will become official within 30 days after he ties up loose ends, he said. He added that he has no plans to seek another, higher office.”
“Mitchell pointed to an emergency City Council meeting in December that was held to discuss firing City Manager Brian Haddix. Mitchell was an ardent supporter of Haddix and accused Ontiveros, Cantu and Garza of meeting illegally to discuss Haddix’s removal. The council eventually voted 4-0, with Mitchell abstaining, in favor of keeping Haddix.
“When they (Garza, Ontiveros and Cantu) came together to make a decision fire our city manager, I knew this city was headed down the wrong path,” Mitchell said. “And I knew there was nothing I was going to be able to do to stop it.”
Mitchell has been an elected Sanger official since 2010. He is also the target of an investigation by the Fair Political Practices Commission. He has dismissed the investigation as a “personal attack” trumped up by his political opponents.