Behind closed doors

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Different meeting, different faces.

Yet another executive session.

Perhaps taking a cue from the Selma City Council, which has regularly conducted similar meetings in recent months, the Dallas County Commission voted to enter an executive session at its regular Monday meeting.

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Commissioner Curtis Williams made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Kim Ballard. The motion passed by unanimous vote.

Probate Judge Johnny Jones was not present for Monday’s meeting.

According to Commissioner Roy Moore, the executive session was held for personnel reasons and good name and character issues.

The executive session wasn’t the only piece of business on the commission’s plate, though.

The commission voted unanimously in favor of a retail table wine license for the Southside Chevron Food Mart, a convenience store on U.S. Highway 80 East. Commissioner Connell Towns, whose district the store lies in, made the motion in favor of the license, and Williams seconded it. The motion, called for by Moore, was quickly passed by a voice vote of Ballard, Towns and Williams.

According to Moore, the process of getting a liquor or wine license begins with the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control board. The license request is processed before moving to Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman Jr. It then reaches the commission.

According to Ballard, the license request is put on first reading by the commission 99 percent of the time. If it’s an emergency situation, the commission could suspend its parliamentary rules and vote on it at the time it is introduced. Usually, though, such a vote takes place at the next commission meeting.

That gives the public and public officials time to research the matter and give input if they desire.

Ballard said he thinks about the person requesting the license before casting his vote. Some questions he asks include if the person has a criminal history and if the business selling alcohol is near a church or school.

Towns said he elicits the opinion of people living in the community. For example, if a club were to open near residences, he’d talk to people who live on the same street.

However, Towns noted that the Southside Chevron Food Mart was on U.S. Highway 80 and is not near any residences.

In other matters the commission:

Ratified Nash Gipson’s resignation from the Sheriff’s department. The ratification passed by unanimous vote.

According to Human Resources Director Brenda Wood, the ratification occurred because the commission doesn’t oversee the day-to-day operations of the county. The ratification was the county’s &uot;stamp of approval&uot; on the personnel action.

Moore said the commission needed to document all personnel actions. He added that Wood makes it aware of who has been hired and fired.