Town will seek an opinion, Hayneville Council appoints Pouncey to vacant council seat

Published 11:37 pm Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

In a special called meeting held at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, the Hayneville Town Council voted three to two to appoint Justin Pouncey to a vacant Hayneville Town Council seat.

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However, Hayneville Town Attorney Michael G. Strickland said the town will seek an opinion from the League of Municipalities and the approval of Circuit Judge Terri Bozeman Lovell.

The special council meeting action comes on the heels of an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that upheld a Lowndes County Circuit Court ruling by Lovell that the May 23 election of Hayneville Council member Carole C. Scrushy was illegal and void.

On May 23, 2017, in a special municipal election to fill a vacant Hayneville council seat, Scrushy defeated Pouncey 137 to 82 total votes.

At the previous regular meeting of Hayneville Town Council held Monday, March 12 and following the State Supreme Court ruling, Strickland, said, “What will happen is they (the town of Hayneville) will have to a new election. The probate judge will order an election, and we’ll make sure that Judge Lovell oversees the election and waves her hand over it and agrees to all the dates and all of that. “

Mayor David Daniel said Wednesday’s March 21 meeting was supposed to be a special called meeting to set guidelines for a new election.

However, he confirmed that Hayneville Council members Lula Tyson-Bailey, Sharon Reeves and Cynthia McDonald all voted to appoint Pouncey to the vacant council seat while he and Council member Kim Payton were opposed.

Daniel said, “We were anticipating a new election.” He said, the town’s attorney would carry those guidelines to the circuit judge, and she will have to make a ruling on if the town has to have a new election or accept Pouncey.

When contacted for comment Council member Reeves would only say, “I don’t know. We just did our job.”

When contacted for comment, Strickland told the Signal, “There was a special call meeting to set the dates for the election and vote on a Municipal upgrade project only. The agenda only contained the information to vote on the Municipal project and to set the dates for the special election.”

Strickland said, “For all Town, City and County Council/Commission meetings, notice must always be given to the general public and to all members of the council pursuant to the law of the State of Alabama.  That notice must state what matters will be addressed by the Town Council.  Only those items on the agenda can be voted on especially at special call meetings.”

He said, “Hayneville, will contact the league of municipalities for an opinion, and for any action concerning the election of the vacant seat, Hayneville will seek the approval of the Circuit Judge in Lowndes County. “

According to court documents released Friday, March 9, the State Supreme Court concluded the circuit court had the power to enforce its prior orders and to void

the May 23, 2017 special election.