Council starts over with judge

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Selma’s municipal court will have to wait a little while longer before it gets a permanent judge.

In the past, council members said the position would help bring more money into the city, as the fines and fees collected from tickets and broken laws would increase.

However, that revenue will have to wait while the council starts the interview process over again.

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The city voted 7-1 with Councilman Reid Cain voting against and Councilwoman Jean Martin abstaining, to go back to square one to fill the job.

During last night’s meeting, Councilwoman Dr. Geraldine Allen, as chair of the Administrative Committee, reported that the city should have two part-time judges, one to manage and sit on the bench, and another to preside over cases only.

Allen said the two jobs should pay $25,500 for the management position and $15,000 for the other job.

Allen said the job descriptions were more specific also.

“The (original) job description was not very specific, whether it was full-time or part-time, it really left a lot of leeway,” she said.

In addition, council members Johnnie Leashore and Bennie Ruth Crenshaw said they didn’t feel the interview process was handled according to the Council’s specification.

Crenshaw originally moved to interview the nine candidates for the position again.

“I would like to make a motion and move that the same process that was used in the selection for the school board be used,” she said, referring to perceived differences in the process Cain used at the original interviews.

Leashore agreed with Crenshaw saying the council didn’t need a motion, because it was already in violation of the city’s wishes.

“The process should be null and void,” Leashore said. “There’s no need for a motion.”

Council President George Evans disagreed. He said he made sure the procedure was up to the Council’s standards.

“Procedure was followed based on what you gave to me,” he said.

Ultimately, Councilman Cecil Williamson moved to amend Crenshaws original motion, because of the changes in the job description.

“My suggestion would be we start the whole thing over,” he said, including new postings for the updated job requirements.

Still, the Public Safety Committee, responsible for holding the actual interviews, will meet on Thursday to discuss the interview process again.

Cain, defending his actions as chair of the Public Safety Committee, said he followed the exact process requested and would be happy to do so again.

“Our process was exactly like what you stated,” he said to Crenshaw. “It’s a good process and it works very well.”

In other news, the city passed a smoking law, requiring restaurants to chose whether or not they’ll be smoking or non-smoking. The law passed with only one dissent, from Williamson, who faulted the ordinance for not allowing businesses choices on having a non-smoking area if they chose to be a smoking establishment.

City Attorney Jimmy Nunn disagreed with Williamson.

“You (businesses) can’t straddle the fence,” he said.

Nunn also presented a procedure for liquor licenses and a leash law.

Evans said the Council discussed the leash law for two years.

The city passed the leash law, but tabled the liquor license procedure.

Nunn also discussed new procedures with the council on reserving the city’s convention center.

In other news:

The council voted to sell a garbage truck to Uniontown for $1000.

Approved the city’s taking ownership of four lots of property near the bypass.

Approved an amendment to the budget to take into account a job in the Tax and Licensing division. The amendment adds about $7,000 to the city’s budget.

Approved resolutions redirecting funds to the Centre for Commerce to take over the city’s tourism division.

Approved purchase resolutions for new softball and baseball equipment for the city’s recreation department.

Heard requests from Habitat for Humanity, The Voting Rights Museum and the About Face program.

Honored Selma Police Officers Billy Wright, Brian Dixon, Reginald Fitts, Harry Tubbs and David Hopkins for pulling a man out of a burning building earlier this month.

Discussed the total damage to the city from Hurricane Ivan. According to City Engineer David Painter, the city can expect $300,000 to $600,000 in relief from the federal government, depending on how well received their grant application is.

Discussed possible changes to the city’s youth baseball/softball program and the possibility of collecting a fee for the program. Councilman Sam Randolph said the recreation department was expected to get more money out of the program by moving 19 teams to the city’s baseball complex, generating funds from ticket and concession sales.

Discussed the placement of a monument to the Rev. James Reeb on Water Avenue. The monument, paid for by the SCLC, will be placed on Washington Street. According to Williamson, the monument must be approved by the city’s Historic Society, because the area is considered a historic district.

The Council voted to allow the placement, on the condition the Historic Society allow it, if it is in a historic district.

Editor’s note: For more Council coverage, see tomorrow’s edition of The Selma Times-Journal.