White Hall meets for first time since mediation, welcomes new council member
Published 3:39 pm Friday, April 8, 2016
By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
Meeting for the first time since court ordered mediation, the White Hall Town Council saw the oath of office administered to a new council member Thursday night, adopted rules of procedure and took several actions.
With all council members except Joyce Barnfield in attendance, the county approved the swearing in of former mayor Elizabeth Davis to replace Glenn Mallard, who resigned his seat.
Mayor James Walker stated that he didn’t have any participation with the council members on Davis’ appointment. He said, “So, I can’t entertain that,” of the oath. “I leave it to the council to do whatever they need to do with that.”
Council member Ceodis Baker made a motion seconded by Council member Eli Seaborn that the council member selected by the council at it’s Dec. 29th meeting be sworn in. Davis was approved with Baker, Seaborn and Council member Ruby Rudolph in favor and Walker voting to “deny.”
Davis next received the oath of office from Temporary Town Clerk Felicia Perry.
Davis previously served as the town’s mayor for three years, serving out the term of former White Hall Mayor John Jackson. She was also a member of the council from 1982 until 2009.
Davis said her time on the council would be short term, as she said she expects someone else to run in July.
Davis said, “I’m just going to do the best I can to try and help the town get back on track.”
While Davis took her seat on the council Thursday night, she abstained from voting on all matters.
The council next approved a liquor license for Oasis Restaurant, owned by Thomas Perry, with Baker, Rudolph, Seaborn and Walker in favor.
The council approved a resolution to reestablish the water bank account with Baker, Rudolph, Seaborn and Walker in favor.
Walker reported that persons with low income will have to sign forms to be exempt from hookup fees to the town’s planned new sewer system. He also said the project engineer has to resubmit some permits to ADEM and that he would have someone at the next council meeting to report on the status of the project.
Walker reported that equipment including laptops, a recorder and cell phone were accounted for and that an American Express Card had been cancelled.
Walker said he would contact attorney, Arlene Richardson, who was to escort the former town clerk, Shanavia Sellers, to present the password to the town’s computer to see that that is done. He said while he thought it had been done, he would make it a “priority.”
Walker agreed to serve as the voting delegate for the council to the Alabama League of Municipalities with Seaborn agreeing to serve as the alternate delegate.
The council agreed to let Walker do research on developing written procedures for appointing for new water board members.
The council voted with Baker, Rudolph, Seaborn and Walker in favor to continue Annie Robinson as temporary magistrate for municipal court.
Walker agreed research the procedure to have someone bonded at town hall. He said he and Perry would get on that matter the next day.
Walker agreed to do what is necessary regarding town hall maintenance.
The council voted to continue Will R. Kelly as temporary prosecutor for the town’s municipal court with Baker, Rudolph, Seaborn and Walker in favor.
The council approved Raymond Surles as permanent certified well operator for the town’s water system with Baker, Rudolph, Seaborn and Walker in favor.
The final action by the council was approval of rules and procedures based on state ordinances written by Richardson and attorney Prince Chestnut with Baker, Rudolph, Seaborn and Walker in favor.
The council approved the Dec. 8 minutes with Baker, Rudolph, Seaborn and Walker in favor, tabled Jan. 7 minutes with Baker, Rudolph and Seaborn in favor and Walker voting to deny, and approved Feb. 4 minutes with Baker, Rudolph, Seaborn in favor and Walker voting to deny.
Before the council adjourned, Davis asked if the town wants to keep the library. She said at meeting in May the town must support or deny the library. She said in the past the town has paid the library’s light bill and water bill.
Walker said he did not have a problem, but the council would make the ultimate decision.
Seaborn stated the town has gone through some struggles the last several months and, “I would like to see us at some point move forward.”
He said of the rules and procedures adopted by the town following litigation and mediation, “We don’t have an idea how much this document cost us… “