Council hears plan for city manager

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Could the office of mayor soon be a thing of the past for Selma?

According to a feasibility study by City Attorney Jimmy Nunn, big changes would be in the works if the mayor’s office was exchanged for that of a city manager’s. And not just changes for the mayor.

The subject of changing Selma’s form of government from mayor/council to city manager/council was discussed at both the Selma City Council’s July 14 and July 28 meetings. Councilwoman Rita Sims Franklin said she brought the issue up because of concerns expressed by citizens from Wards One, Two and Three.

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Council President George Evans noted that the council appropriated money, not the mayor. Exchanging the office of mayor for one of city manager wouldn’t change anything concerning money, Evans said.

Councilman Sam Randolph was more forceful in his remarks July 14.

Nunn returned to the council July 28 with a feasibility study on the issue. According to Nunn, 10 percent of voters’ signatures are required on a petition for a vote to occur. If the vote passed, the new government would take effect after the next municipal election.

In addition to replacing the mayor with a city manager, the vote would also reduce council seats from nine to five. The mayor would preside as head of government in a ceremonial role, serve on the council and be elected by the voters at large &045;&045; as would the council president. The remaining three council members would be elected by district.

The council is currently working with Alabama Power Senior Engineer Kin Reynolds in redistricting Selma’s city wards.

Monday night Councilwoman Nancy Sewell asked Nunn if an avenue existed to circumvent the limitation to only five council members. Nunn said a number of different classes existed for the city/manager governmental form.