Bernita Sims resigned as mayor of High Point today before entering a plea of guilty to felony worthless check.
Sims submitted her letter of resignation to interim City Manager Strib Boynton and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Davis at 11 a.m. today, city spokesman Jeron Hollis said. At 2 p.m., she entered a guilty plea in Guilford County Court, her lawyer David Freedman said, adding that she didn’t want to plead guilty as mayor because it would bring dishonor to the city.
Sims was indicted last November for writing a worthless check in the amount of $7,000 to her sister as part of a family estate settlement.
“As a result of recent events in my personal life, I am resigning as mayor of the city of High Point effective immediately,” Sims wrote in her letter of resignation. “City leadership shall continue to focus on hiring a city manager, working on revitalization of our core and continuing to maintain a financially sound community whose quality of life is a benefit to its residents. Thank you for allowing me to serve; it was an honor to be a part of the decision making process for the great city of High Point. May God continue to bless our community.”
Mayor Pro Tem Jim Davis will assume the duties of mayor, city spokesman Jeron Hollis said. Davis is a member of city council who represents Ward 5 in the northwest corner of the city. He will retain the title mayor pro tem.
Sims was elected mayor in 2012 after serving as a member of city council. She presided over a turbulent council amidst calls for her resignation because of a criminal fraud charge, divisions over revitalization, private bickering over the authority of former City Manager Strib Boynton and debate about the proposed renaming of a street in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
Sims did not file for reelection this year. Three candidates, including former council member Bill Bencini and state Rep. Marcus Brandon and Jimmy Scott, are running for the seat.
Sims received a sentence of five years probation, with the first six months being served under house arrest, Freedman said.