Council votes to hire legal firm, mayor and council continue clash over Dec. 29 meeting

Published 7:27 pm Friday, February 5, 2016

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
White Hall Mayor James Walker and the White Hall Town Council continued to clash Thursday night over the legality of a Dec. 29 special called meeting held by the council in Walker’s absence and actions taken at that meeting.
Mayor James Walker said it was his recommendation to table action on the minutes of the Dec. 29 meeting “until I can converse with someone that has legal insight on what happened with this meeting.”
After the council and mayor could not agree on actions, Walker said, “I don’t think we need to sit here all night not getting anything done. So, at this time I’m going to ask for a motion to adjourn.”
Failing to receive a motion, Walker said, “I have no other alternative except to adjourn this meeting through executive order.”
After Walker adjourned the meeting, during which no actions were taken, the council continued to meet.
Following an executive session, the council voted to hire Chestnut Law, a Selma law firm to provide legal advice.
Mayor Pro Tem Eli Seaborn said the action is being taken “to clarify all these misunderstandings that are going on here.”
The council went on to approve the minutes of its Dec. 29, 2015 meeting, which Walker declined to bring to a vote.
The council also approved a resolution for White Hall to use First Citizens Bank for financial transactions for all accounts requiring two of three signatures including Walker, Seaborn and Council member Ruby Rudolph and a resolution authorizing the mayor to reestablish the water board account and authorizing First Citizens Bank to recover and restore unauthorized funds withdrawn from the account and listing Bertha White as town clerk.
Seaborn welcomed former White Hall Mayor Elizabeth Davis to the council, who the council approved at the Dec. 29 meeting to replace Glenn Mallard who resigned.
Davis said, “I would like to thank the council for considering me to return.” She said, “I really don’t know how we got so far off track when the mayor thinks he operates everything when really the mayor should be working with the council.”
Actions taken by the council at its Dec. 29 meeting included dismissal of the town clerk (Sellers) and the town attorney (who identified himself Thursday night as Patrick Arrington), the dismissal of the five water board (authority) members, the appointment of former White Hall Mayor Elizabeth Davis to the vacant council previously held by Glenn Mallard, the hiring former Town Clerk Bertha White (as temporary town clerk) and the authorization of Seaborn by the council to seek legal advice.

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