Carbon Hill Mayor Mark Chambers resigns after Facebook posts

Updated 6/27/20 11:15 a.m. - Updated to reflect the city has formally announced a city council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday night.
Updated 6/27/20 11:40 a.m. - Updated to reflect the wording of the resignation letter.

CARBON HILL - Only 10 days before the start of qualifying for this year's municipal elections, Carbon Hill Mayor Mark Chambers turned in a resignation letter Saturday after a second controversial Facebook conversation was being passed around by citizens online. 

The Daily Mountain Eagle heard about the resignation late Saturday afternoon but waited to seek confirmation from an official or the actual letter. Shortly after 8 a.m. Monday, City Clerk Sherry Garner confirmed the resignation letter existed.

Garner later announced Monday morning a called meeting of the Carbon Hill City Council will be held Wednesday at 6 p.m. to deal with the resignation. The council will eventually appoint a new mayor to serve for the rest of the term, which ends in November.

The resignation letter, written without a letterhead, stated simply, "I quit the job of mayor effective June 27 at 4:30 p.m." 

Chambers himself would not comment on the matter by text, telling the Daily Mountain Eagle Saturday afternoon, "Make it up as you go Ed you have done a good job of that so far." He asked not to be contacted anymore. 

Mayor Pro Temp Greg Anderson and City Attorney Steve Thomas could not be reached for comment over the weekend. 

On Saturday afternoon, the Eagle began receiving screenshot copies of a Facebook posting from Chambers, saying, "I got several Alabama pictures for sale. Nick Sabin (sic) and the Crimson Tide is done in my opinion. I'll post them tomorrow." In the following thread, he said, he was getting rid of them not due to their performance. "Their sorry" --- " political views is why their (sic) getting out of my house." He also added, "(W)hen you put Black lives before all lives they can kiss my" ---. 

The posting could not be found Sunday and the Daily Mountain Eagle cannot confirm it has seen the full Facebook exchange. Chambers had two accounts listed with his name and likeness, with one account having the photo corresponding with the controversial post. On the other account, with a different photo, a post in his name Thursday talked about being just "back of the 12 Facebook jail," adding, "Facebook blocked be darned." On Saturday he also posted on that account a graphic saying, "ALL LIVES MATTER" and "JESUS DIED FOR US ALL." 

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban and his team posted a video last week that promoted the Black Lives Matter movement. 

“In this moment in history, we can’t be silent.”

Posted by Alabama Football on Thursday, June 25, 2020

It is not known who the council would pick to be mayor. Herron has announced she is running for mayor. It was not certain whether Chambers had intended to run for re-election. In July 2019 protestors quoted him as saying he would run again, while he told reporters he "may" run. However, some had privately speculated recently he might not qualify. 

Qualifying will be held July 7-21, with elections set for Aug. 25 and the runoff Oct. 6. The new term will start Nov. 2. 

The council will be short of one vote when it meets, as District 4 Councilman Robert Warren is being held in jail on a murder charge. It is not clear if he is still a councilman due to the length of time he has been in jail, which has not been discussed by the council. 

It was a year ago when Chambers got international headlines for online remarks. WBRC reported in early June 2019 the mayor made an original Facebook post on May 31, 2019, which was later removed, that said in all caps, "We live in a society where homosexuals lecture us on morals, transvestites lecture us on human biology, baby killers lecture us on human rights and socialists lecture us on economics." A friend replied, "By giving the minority more rights than the majority," the friend wrote, although it is not clear by the station's reporting if the friend might have been also responding to another comment not mentioned. "I hate to think of the country my grandkids will live in unless somehow we change and I think that will take a revolution." 

Then the station said Chambers responded to that comment, saying, "The only way to change it would be to kill the problem out. I know it's bad to say but without killing them out there's no way to fix it." The station posted a screenshot of the comment, apparently blurring out the name of the person he was responding to. 

The Daily Mountain Eagle has not seen the full Facebook exchange. 

Chambers later apologized for the comments, saying they were taken out of context and were intended to be a private message. He said he was referring to a revolution that would take place in this country. 

The comments led to one protest, mainly of LGBTQ advocates, before a council meeting and protesters coming to several meetings, with a larger police presence at the meeting. Many of the protesters, including a representative of the NAACP, called for his resignation. 

Protest march against controversial comments made by Carbon Hill Mayor

Posted by Daily Mountain Eagle on Monday, July 8, 2019

Four council members at the time called for Chambers' resignation, although two of them, McClain Burrough and Chandler Gann, eventually resigned themselves, without commenting why. District 3 Councilwoman April Kennedy Herron and Anderson signed a letter with Burrough to Chambers, calling for the mayor's resignation, while Gann, who was out of town, said he agreed with the letter. 

District 2 Councilman Clarence Colbert said at the time he did not approve of Chambers' comments but would let the mayor decide if he wanted to resign and would not sign the letter. District 5 Councilman Jason Chambers - who has since resigned to give more time to his business - was not approached by other council members to sign the letter as he is the mayor's brother. 

Chambers resignation is now the most significant from a number of resignations from the council over this term. Of the mayor and six council members elected four years ago, now only Herron and Colbert remain in their seats.