INTERVIEW. « It was the right time to pass the torch, » explains Norbert Meler, the mayor of Foix, after his unexpected resignation announcement.

l’essentielNorbert Meler surprised the assembly on Tuesday, September 12, during the municipal council meeting, by announcing his resignation as the mayor of Foix. The official explained his decision to step down midway through his term.

During the opening of the Foix City Council on Tuesday, you surprised everyone by announcing your resignation from the position of mayor. Can you explain the reasons behind this decision?

When managing a municipality, the first priority is to focus on the content, which includes urban planning, economy, and services. This is the most important aspect. Additionally, it is crucial to defend the local level of government. A municipality is where the connection between a citizen and an elected official takes place in person, which does not happen anywhere else on a daily basis. Lastly, it is evident that we age one year every year. If we do not prepare for the future, we will end up without anything and without prepared elected officials. Since 2014, I have decided to give the next generation as much opportunity as possible to hold positions of responsibility in order to prepare them for the future. Now, the new generation is ready.

Il semblait donc être le moment parfait pour prendre votre retraite…

Indeed, but it was also necessary for the overall context to be favorable. We are halfway through the term, the projects are on track, and the city of Foix is functioning normally and peacefully. It was the right time to smoothly pass the baton. The current team will continue to implement the program as usual. Simply put, we are changing captains.

Est-ce que rester au Conseil municipal vous permet également de continuer à soutenir la nouvelle génération dans leurs nouvelles responsabilités ?

Yes, I will remain in my position as a city councilor and the decisions will be up to the future mayor. Afterwards, I will be available to provide advice. I will be there, with my experience and always with the same enthusiasm.

Quels enseignements tirerez-vous de cette expérience après avoir dirigé la ville pendant neuf ans ?

It was an incredible human adventure. It is an extraordinary journey, extremely rewarding with friendly, respectful, and attentive fellow citizens in the vast majority. I chose to resign because collectively, it was the right time to do so, but I had the physical and intellectual ability as well as the enthusiasm to see it through. Sometimes, the collective needs to come before individual satisfaction. It was the moment.

Will the Fuxéens still have the opportunity to meet you at the market on Fridays?

J’y étais avant, j’y étais pendant et j’y serai évidemment après (rires). J’ai attendu de faire ma déclaration lors du Conseil municipal pour envoyer une lettre à tous les Fuxéens. Elle sera envoyée à partir de vendredi pour leur expliquer les raisons de mon départ. Évidemment, je serai sur le marché ce vendredi pour échanger avec tous ceux qui le souhaitent. 

What about his position as president of the AMF 09?

« I will remain president until the end of the term, which is not very long as it runs until November 2023. After that, the future mayor of Foix will join the board of directors of AMF 09 (Association of Mayors and Elected Officials of Ariège) and there will be new elections. So, starting from November, I will no longer be the president of AMF 09. »