Sands Resigns As Athens Council President

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Longtime Athens City Councilman Jim Sands has tendered his resignation as Council president, effective at the end of the year, due to health issues.

In a letter to Council Clerk Debbie Walker dated Monday, Sands wrote, “I have been honored to serve the population of Athens and work with the other elected, appointed and hired individuals who also serve Athenians. However, I have suffered several hospital stays, at least one of which has been the result of severe seizure and has resulted in a broken and rebuilt shoulder bone structure.”

Sands — who has served on Council for 18 years, including as president since 2012 — added that the last and most severe occurrence has resulted in a “fairly long hospitalization in Columbus (and) a long-term association with various doctors and therapists who have predicted that my recovery period will likely continue well into the spring of 2015.”

Because of his injury, Sands told The Messenger, he is not permitted to drive and therefore has been living with his sister in Columbus, where he is close to his doctors. Sands said he has been living in Columbus for a few months now and said he thought about relocating to the state’s capital. However, on Friday he said he misses Athens, the city where his grandparents and parents had strong roots. Although his home is for sale, Sands told The Messenger he hopes to return to Athens next summer if his health has improved.

Sands’ resignation will be effective on Dec. 31. First Ward Councilman Kent Butler has been filling Sand’s Council president role for a few months now.

Sands, a Democrat, thanked the city employees and citizens for their support during his tenure on Council.

“I am proud to have (served on Council) and hope I have been instrumental in maintaining and improving the environment within the city of Athens,” Sands wrote in the letter to Walker.

Athens County Democratic Party Chairman Alan Trout said he believes a replacement for the Council president position will be voted on by members of the Democratic Central Committee who reside in the city of Athens. He said a date has not been set for such a meeting.