Swansea's two newest council members resigned Monday in frustration.
Councilmen Barrett Black and Petey Bailey submitted letters shortly after Monday's council meeting, at which controversial Mayor Ray Spires received an $8,000 raise from a town tangled in a nearly $500,000 debt. Other council members received $400 raises.
The raises took effect Monday as Spires and remaining council members Linda Butler and Woodrow Davis officially began new terms following last week's election.
In identical resignation letters, Black and Bailey wrote, "After the recent election, I have come to realize that no matter how hard I try, things are not going to change and those who make decisions I do not support are going to continue to do so without, what I feel, is careful consideration."
Black has been critical of the town's spending practices since taking office about two years ago and opposed the raises, which were proposed earlier this year. Neither Black nor Bailey was up for re-election last week.
"Quite honestly, I feel like I'm butting my head against a wall," Black said Tuesday, citing continued 3-2 votes on the split council.
He said it's irresponsible for council to grant Spires a large raise, to $18,200, while the town faces a bill for failure to reimburse the state for traffic tickets and a need to repay a $3 million loan for a city waterline.
Black said Bailey shares his feelings.
Efforts to reach Spires for comment were unsuccessful.
The nearly $500,000 in debt stems from court fines the town collected for 2004-07 but did not forward to the state, as the law requires. The state treasurer's office is withholding state aid until the town begins paying off the debt.
A special election for the two years remaining on the terms of Black and Bailey likely will be scheduled on Feb. 2, 2010, Swansea town clerk Lorraine Abell said Tuesday.
Candidates may file between Dec. 4 and Dec. 18, Abell said.