LATHROP – Lathrop Councilman Robert Oliver had a surprise announcement at the end of Monday night’s meeting.
He announced to his council colleagues that he was tendering his resignation.
“I want you all to hear (the news) from me,” he said to the members of the council and staff who were completely caught unawares.
“This is just a climax of my resignation two years ago,” he noted, adding that he will “have a lot more to say later on.”
Oliver told the Bulletin in an interview that he expects his resignation to take effect probably after the last council meeting in March. It’s around that time that he and wife Vivian are expected to move out of their home in Lathrop that they just sold. They are moving to Ventura in Southern California, where they have just bought a house, to be near their children and grandchildren. Oliver has two sons in Ventura; Vivian has a son in San Diego. Together, they have a total of 17 grandchildren. One of Oliver’s granddaughters is an attorney who is currently in the U.S. Navy serving as a lieutenant junior grade.
Along with his resignation announcement, Oliver requested that the next council agenda include discussion on whether his vacant seat should stay vacant or be filled out by appointment. His term expires at the end of the year.
A 17-year resident of Lathrop, Oliver moved here in 1993 to take over the church ministry at the Church of Christ on Thomsen Street near the Lathrop Elementary School. Thirteen of those years were spent in public service as a council member, both by appointment and by election. He was first appointed to the council to finish the remaining three years of a council member who resigned. That was followed by being elected twice, each to a full four-year council term, and to complete the unexpired two years of another council member.
He came to Lathrop from Anderson, Calif., where he served as a planning commissioner.
Oliver resigned from his preaching job and from the council two years ago, intending to relocate at that time. But that was before the housing market went sideways, he said, and their move was postponed.
Besides being an elected official and a preacher, Oliver worked as an educator. He holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree and went into teaching to augment his salary as a preacher to support his family.
“Teaching was a sideline to enable me to preach,” he said. He taught from junior high to junior college, and gave “special lectures (with) emphasis on religion or religion in government.” He has also lectured at Pepperdine University.
“We will miss you,” said the mayor in her brief comment to Oliver’s resignation announcement.