An El Cajon city councilwoman whose home and former office were searched by FBI agents last week resigned Wednesday, saying recent events threatened to take away the time she needed to serve the city and her constituents.
» Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts
» Like Us On Facebook
Jillian Hanson-Cox resigned in a letter to Mayor Mark Lewis and her council colleagues. Her resignation will take effect immediately.
"Recent events have given rise to a burden and demands on my time that would possibly detract from the time necessary to continue my commitment to the city and my constituents," the two-term councilwoman wrote.
Hanson-Cox, who was first elected in 2004, would have faced a re-election race in November.
In her online election biography from 2008, Hanson-Cox, a Republican, described herself as "a homegrown community advocate."
FBI searched her home and former office at Century Design Inc., a Kearny Mesa maker of machinery for processing composite materials, where she was the controller. Company officials said Hanson-Cox no longer works there, and that the company was not the target of the FBI investigation.
The FBI declined to comment on the investigation involving Hanson-Cox.
The mayor said Hanson-Cox's energy, fresh ideas and commitment would be missed.
"She has worked tirelessly for the city and our residents, spending her own time to meet with businesses that might relocate in the city, meeting with residents and local business owners to address issues in their neighborhoods, giving special attention to the needs of our senior residents, and by giving her time to serve on volunteer boards for those special events that make our city wonderful," Lewis said.
Debbie Norman said knows the work of Hanson-Cox well.
"She's been a pillar in our community for so many years
it's hard to believe that she did anything," said Norman. Norman is president of the Mother Goose Parade Association, which is a position Hanson-Cox once held.
Norman told 10News that the FBI did not search the offices of the association but did request some paperwork from when Hanson-Cox was president. She would not say what kind of paperwork it was.
She said the FBI told her their investigation has nothing to do with the Mother Goose Association.
"My hope is that this is something that has nothing to do with her and maybe somebody it's political somebody could be setting her up for something," said Norman.
Scott Alevy, who is president of the El Cajon Chamber of Commerce, described Hanson-Cox as a person who loves her community and has always been a hands-on leader.
"It would be very difficult to imagine the community without her in a position of responsibility," Alevy said.
When asked if the FBI searches were a red flag indicating wrongdoing, Alevy responded, "I think there's a yellow flag not a red flag a caution flag."
Alevy added, "We don't know what this investigation is about. We don't know if it's peripheral, or if it's collateral or if there's even a focus. We don't know those things and I think you'll find if you talk to people around this town that the people are giving Jillian Hanson-Cox the benefit of the doubt because we're saddened to see it happening and just can't imagine that there's anything to it."
He told 10News reporter Allison Ash he believes Hanson-Cox will speak publicly about her predicament when there's more to tell.
"You hunker down and you get the best information that you can and you try to assess things, so that when you do say something you're careful, you're guarded, but you're honest
That's exactly how she's always operated," he said.
Alevy cautioned people not to jump to conclusions since no charges have been filed. He hopes they never are.
"We just hope that this is a case where this runs its course and that we have our Jillian back," he said.
City Attorney Morgan Foley is expected to advise the City Council about its options for replacing Hanson-Cox on Tuesday. The council could appoint someone to serve out the remainder her term or leave the seat vacant until the general election, Foley said.
Copyright Do you have more information about this story? Click here to contact usCopyright 2012 by City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.