Mayor Billy Whitenack has handed in his resignation, which goes into effect on Monday, Jan. 23.
“This decision does not come easily, however, due to my wife and I purchasing a property outside the city limits, I am unable to continue to serve as mayor,” Whitenack said in his resignation letter, which was dated Monday, Jan. 9.
“It’s been a great honor and a pleasure to serve, and I look forward to watching Harrodsburg continue to grow in the future.”
The mayor revealed his intention to resign in December, but remained in office through the transition on the city commission. He previously told the Harrodsburg Herald he wanted to give the new commission a chance to pick his replacement. Other than handing in his notice, Whitenack made no mention of his resignation at Monday’s city commission meeting.
Whitenack won reelection in November 2022 after running unopposed. He retired as chief of the Harrodsburg Police Department in 2018 and won election to the Harrodsburg City Commission in 2020. Originally selected by the city commission to serve as mayor pro tem in case of the absence of Mayor Art Freeman, Whitenack was selected to succeed Freeman, who resigned for health reasons not long before his death in 2021.
Whitenack said there will be another mayoral election in 2023, when voters will also get to vote on the governor’r race. The primary is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16, 2023, while the general election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023.
Originally from Salvisa, Whitenack served 20 years in law enforcement, starting with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office before joining the Harrodsburg Police Department in 2008. Named chief in 2012, Whitenack reorganized the department’s hiring policy, led an effort to finally get the department accredited and raised more than $150,000 reselling military surplus equipment the HPD received free from the federal government.
As city commissioner, Whitenack criticized the way the city handled neglected properties, questioning their inconsistency in enforcing deadlines for code enforcement violations, such as not using certified mail to notify property owners or serve warrants. As mayor, Whitenack worked with City Attorney Norrie Currens and the staff at city hall to make that process more efficient and consistent.
In his resignation letter, Whitenack thanked the city commission, city employees and the citizens of Harrodsburg for their support. said he will miss being mayor but will still try to help the city any way he can, including possibly through volunteer work.