In the wake of his arrest Dec. 10 in Lebanon on drug charges, Watertown Vice Mayor Brandon Howard has resigned and his replacement has been named. Mayor Mike Jennings said Councilwoman Brandy Baird Holcomb was selected by her fellow councilmembers Tuesday as vice mayor.
Howard was arrested by Lebanon police and charged with simple possession after a traffic stop. According to the arrest warrant, Howard was driving in the vicinity of Briskin Lane and Cainsville Road on Dec. 10 at about 5:45 p.m. when an Lebanon Police Department officer noticed expired temporary tags on the vehicle Howard was driving.
Howard continued to drive after the officer turned on his emergency lights and siren. Eventually Howard stopped at 1140 Sparta Pike, and the officer noticed a strong smell of marijuana when he got to Howard’s vehicle. The officer saw a “green, leafy plant-like material believed to be marijuana” in plain view in the car.
The officer then conducted a search, which turned up a baggy containing 1 gram of a white powdery substance “Howard admitted to being cocaine,” according to the warrant. He also found a plastic baggy with about 3/10ths of a gram of a clear, crystal-like substance believed to be methamphetamine, and two glass pipes “commonly used to consume illegal drugs.”
Howard did not respond to two requests for comment left on his phone, and it is unclear if he has hired an attorney. His first court appearance on the Class A misdemeanor charge is scheduled for June 1.
Jennings said Howard resigned via email on Monday. “He was very gracious,” Jennings said. He declined to provide the Democrat a copy of the email. He said he did not notice anything amiss with Howard, other than he had been absent from several meetings over the summer. He praised Howard for successfully leading the fundraising effort for new playground equipment at the Watertown’s Three Forks Community park.
The council will vote a seating a new member at its January meeting, Jennings said. Councilmembers will be able to submit nominations, and then vote on the nominees.
Howard had been on the council for 18 years. He owns Full Service Exterminators in Watertown.