MILLINGTON, TN (abc24.com) - The City of Millington has a new mayor. The Board of Alderman named Linda Carter as Interim Mayor, who will finish the final year of Richard Hodges' four year term. Hodges announced his retirement in the fall, after an indictment on bribery charges.
Friday, January 13th was his last day on the job. Mayor Hodges wasn't at the board meeting and left his office for the last time around 2:00pm. He said this has been a long road and hopes the next mayor is wiser when choosing friends.
A new library, road improvements, and flood studies are all projects Mayor Hodges began, but won't be able to finish. Hodges compiled all his ongoing projects into hundreds of pages, a book for the next person who takes his office.
"I've got it all in here so all they have to do is open it up and look at it."
It's not the way he wanted to leave, and not the way he wants to be remembered.
"[It's] very hard, very, very hard," he said. "You see pro athletes that should retire a season before and they come back for that last season and leave broken. Please remember me by my whole season and not my last game."
That "last game" started when Hodge's personal problems became public in July 2011. His wife, Rita, committed suicide. The next day, his office, home, and a now-infamous transmission shop were raided by the TBI. The investigation led to his arrest and indictment on two charges of bribery.
Hodges said, "To lose a loved one then be put in the position I'm in, I know that a great deal of it was because I had a bad choice of personal friends."
Now the former mayor will leave city matters to someone else as he fights for his innocence.
"I can assure you and the citizens of Millington I have not abused this office, I have never taken a bribe, in fact I have turned several down," Hodges stated. "There's no way I'll go to jail, I believe in the system too much."
Like a player who stayed too long, he fears his list of accomplishments may only be a list to him.
"Yeah, I'll be remembered a little bit, but not much."
Hodges will go back to his former job of refurbishing houses. He said if he is cleared of the charges he would consider running for mayor again.