The city of Harlem is losing one of its leading citizens.
Harlem City Councilman Craig Brooks delivered his resignation Wednesday to Mayor Scott Dean and fellow council members to move to Knoxville, Tenn.
"My parents live in Knoxville and I'm in the middle of changing careers, so this just seemed like the right time to go," said Brooks.
"Basically, I want to be closer to my family and the job opportunities are better."
Brooks, 29, moved to Harlem in 1983 with his family and graduated from Harlem High School in 1991.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
He has been a member of the city council for the past 16 months and is active with Columbia County Republican Party.
He said he regrets leaving what he considers his hometown, but is confident that the city government will continue on just fine without him.
"My leaving should have minimal impact," he said. "The team they've got together is a great team. Changing one person won't change the dynamic of that team. I'm sure they'll pick somebody that has the best interest of the community at heart and can work with that team."
Dean said that he understands Brooks' decision to leave, but he agrees that Harlem will continue to run smoothly despite Brooks' absence. He said he's more upset about losing a good friend.
"The only family he has down here, really and truly, is the council," Dean said. "He eats more dinners at my house than he does anywhere else. (Harlem City Councilwoman Robin Root) is kind of like a surrogate mom to him. He's going to miss us, just like we're going to miss him."
When a vacancy is created on the city council, members will appoint someone to fill the seat and then vote on them at a council meeting.
The council is expected to officially accept Brooks' resignation at a meeting May 12. At that time, the council may vote on Brooks' replacement, or postpone that decision until the June 9 meeting, according to Dean.
Brooks is a former assembly technician and purchasing analyst for John Deere in Grovetown. He said he has been out of work for some time, but the opportunities in Knoxville look very promising for him.
"I've been in Knoxville for the past couple of weeks and interviewed with four different companies," he said. "I feel like I'm pretty close to getting something."
As far as a career in politics, Brooks said that he would prefer to remain behind the scenes for a while.
"I'll probably help out on local campaigns, but I don't see myself running for office again anytime in the near future," said Brooks. "I'm going to concentrate on my career and spending time with my family."
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