Perkins: I want to work with the council

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. wants to clear things up.

At Monday’s Selma City Council meeting, Perkins told the council he wanted to correct misinformation about a May 12 memorandum sent from him to Selma department heads and council members.

The memorandum states that city department heads must first speak with Perkins before addressing a City Council committee. It also states that a City Council committee chairperson must first talk to Perkins if he or she wants to speak with a department head so a meeting between the council member and Perkins can be arranged.

Monday night Perkins said he wasn’t forbidding department heads from speaking with council members; instead, he was creating procedures for communication between council committees and department heads.

In a May 19 response to Perkins’ memorandum, council members Rita Sims Franklin and Glenn Sexton contend that Perkins doesn’t have the authority to set that policy. Their memorandum also states Alabama law authorizes open discussion between department heads and council members.

At the May 22 work session Selma City Attorney Jimmy Nunn said the Alabama Code quoted in Franklin and Sexton’s memorandum doesn’t apply to Selma. Perkins referred to Nunn’s explanation Monday.

Perkins also said a majority of department heads have told him they didn’t want to be in the middle of mayor-council discussions.

Franklin, though, said the public safety committee &045;&045; a committee she chairs &045;&045; needs department head input. If she notifies Perkins and he doesn’t notify department heads, they have no way of knowing about committee meetings, Franklin said.

Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw said she thought Perkins’ procedure would improve communications and be more productive.

Franklin said she faxes requests to Perkins’ office on a regular basis and sometimes the information isn’t seen or doesn’t make it to respective department heads.

Perkins emphasized that he wanted to work with council members.

Council President George Evans ended the discussion by saying council members needed to follow Perkins’ procedure.