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City employees talked about their fondness for Elizabethtown Mayor Tim Walker during a news conference Friday morning and discussed what the city will need to do to move forward.
Walker, 54, was pronounced dead at 5:33 a.m. Friday by Hardin County Deputy Coroner Kenneth Spangenberger at Hardin Memorial Hospital after he died at his home.
City Attorney D. Dee Shaw had known Walker since both were students at Elizabethtown High School and had worked with him for 16 years. She said Walker's goal was to make everyone happy and it bothered him when someone called to complain.
"We're just all grieving," she said. "He was a wonderful mayor. He was a great man. I just don't think I can express what a loss this is."
Elizabethtown Police spokesman Virgil Willoughby recounted Walker's service as a firefighter, city council member and mayor.
The community has lost a valued leader, as well as a good man, he said. Walker was elected mayor in 2010 after several terms on council.
"I would always say, 'Mayor,' and he would always say, 'Call me Tim.'" he said. "That wasn't just for me. That was for everyone. Tim was a friend to everyone."
City Council members, according to state law, must select a chairperson to lead meetings and elect a new mayor from within or outside the council. That person is responsible for serving the remainder of Walker’s term, through 2014. Council members have 30 days to make the decision, and no member can vote for himself.
If they do not elect a new mayor within 30 days, the governor must choose one.
Council members must elect a new person to the council if one of the current six people on the governing body is chosen as mayor, leaving a vacancy.
A general election is scheduled to follow the cycle’s regular schedule, in November 2014. Candidates must register between Nov. 6 of this year and Aug. 12 of next.
The regularly scheduled Monday afternoon Elizabethtown City Council meeting may be rescheduled, depending on arrangements.