The Roanoke City Council on Monday accepted Councilman Bill Bestpitch’s sudden resignation from more than half of the committees on which he serves.

Bestpitch said he’d been thinking of reducing his council workload in favor of volunteering more for nonprofits for a while. But Bestpitch, an independent, acknowledged the way in which council Democrats recently pushed through moving council elections from May to November in even-numbered years was a “tipping point” in finally doing it.

He said that shortly after the Nov. 18 meeting during which council voted 5-2 to move the elections, he sent an email to the rest of the council resigning from his roles as: president and director of the Greater Roanoke Transit Company; vice-chair of the city’s audit committee; representative to the Virginia’s First Regional Industrial Facility Authority; and member of the General Laws Committee of the Virginia Municipal League.

He’s concerned the way the process worked on the election move is a harbinger of how the council will operate in the future.

“We worked so hard for so many years to be a council that works toward consensus and absolutely no effort went into that this time,” he said.

He’s more concerned, he added, “that we passed up the opportunity to work a little further in developing broad community consensus.”

Bestpitch remains chairman of the council’s legislative committee and a council representative to the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission and the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization.

He said he hopes to now devote time to aiding refugee resettlement in the city and volunteering at the city jail.

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Matt Chittum covers Roanoke City. A Roanoke native, he’s been at the Roanoke Times for more than two decades, having overcome an inauspicious start with a part-time clerical job.

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