Helen Anthony tenders resignation from Columbia City Council

Monday, October 15, 2012 | 11:00 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Fifth Ward Councilwoman Helen Anthony is leaving the Columbia City Council.

Anthony announced her resignation effective Nov. 30 at the Monday night meeting of the council.

Her decision to resign was due to the stress of traveling back and forth between Columbia and Providence, R.I., after her husband accepted a job in February as chief of pathology at Lifespan, a health care system affiliated with Brown University.

Anthony's term was set to expire in April 2014. The council will now fill the vacancy for the interim, as outlined by the city charter, until the next election. Because Anthony had more than a year left in office, the council must call a special election. Anthony said that her replacement would be chosen in a special election in February, at the earliest.

“I fought hard for this seat, and I have really enjoyed representing the city," Anthony said. "I’ve only been doing this job a year and a half."

She said that her proudest accomplishments were the work she has done on the Columbia Imagined Comprehensive Plan, which would provide a framework for growth in Columbia over the next 20 years, as well as the traffic improvements she has helped bring to her ward.

Her biggest regret, she said, was that she wasn't able to create policy to address Columbia's infrastructure problems, such as lack of planning for roads, sewers and water.

“We should make sure infrastructure is built first and development second,” she said.

The Fifth Ward seat is one of several opening on the council this coming year. Fourth Ward Councilman Daryl Dudley, Third Ward Councilman Gary Kespohl and Mayor Bob McDavid are all up for re-election in April.

Anthony moved to Columbia in November 2003 from Needham, Mass., a suburb of Boston. A practicing lawyer, she is a member of both the Massachusetts and Missouri bar associations. She joined the Planning and Zoning Commission in 2007. She was elected to City Council in 2011.

She said that she would probably not seek elected office in Rhode Island.

“I’d like a paying job because I have three kids in college,” she said.

Supervising editor is Karen Miller.

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