JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — There’s now an empty seat on the Jackson City Council after a long-time council member embroiled in a domestic abuse scandal handed in his resignation.
Last month, Councilman Andrew Frounfelker, who has represented the city’s fifth ward for 13 years, was charged with felony assault after authorities say he brutally beat and strangled his girlfriend.
A witness says he also threatened to kill her.
His girlfriend was hospitalized with severe facial injuries that required her to get surgery.
6 News was there Tuesday morning as the resignation was announced at Jackson City Hall.
Mayor Derek Dobies called a special news conference to make the announcement.
“Late last night Councilman Frounfelker delivered to me a letter announcing his resignation from his post on the city council,” Dobies said.
The mayor says the allegations are disturbing, and the resignation was the right move for the councilman.
“I think it is of the best interest of the city and of the residents in the fifth ward that we’re able to move on,” Dobies said.
In his resignation letter, Frounfelker maintained his innocence.
But said he doesn’t want to distract from the positive things happening in the city.
In the wake of the scandal, the city council was criticized for not taking swift action against the councilman.
Dobies says they were waiting on Frounfelker’s decision.
“Provided my conversations with Andy over the past few weeks, I believed ultimately that this was the decision that he would come to,” Dobies said.
The day before Frounfelker’s resignation, other council members told 6 News that they were going to propose impeachment or a formal resolution that called on him to resign.
“I said at the last council meeting that no one on that dais condones domestic violence or any kind of violence,” Dobies said.
Dobies says Frounfelker is now a private citizen that intends to work on his personal life.
And with him out of city hall, officials are focused on filling his council seat.
The mayor says it’s an appointment that will be happening in the coming weeks.
“Make sure we will be filling it with someone who understands the fifth ward and the needs of the citizens there,” Dobies said.
Dobies says residents from the fifth ward, which is the downtown area, can apply for the open seat and will be vetted by the city council at public hearings.
Frounfelker is still facing the criminal case against him.
No trial date has been set.
Beyond his resignation letter, he has not made any public statements about the allegations and has not returned messages for comment to 6 News.
The Jackson councilmember accused of assaulting his girlfriend last month has resigned from office.
Andrew Frounfelker submitted his resignation to Jackson mayor Derek Dobies this morning.
Frounfelker had served the city’s fifth ward on the Jackson City Council for 15 years.
Last month he was arrested and charged with assaulting his girlfriend at their Jackson home.
She was treated for injuries to her face.
This story is developing and 6 News Jackson bureau reporter Aaron Dimick will update it online and on 6 News.