Council attempts to fill water board seat

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 3, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

The vote that named Selma City Councilwoman Dr. Geraldine Allen to the Selma Water & Sewer Board may be ethically questionable, leaving city officials contemplating what to do next in their attempt to fill a vacancy on the five-member board that oversees operations delivering “the cheapest drink in town.”

The question was over whether Allen should be allowed to cast a vote for herself to be named to the board.

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Council President George Evans, who voted in favor of naming Allen to fill a vacancy created following the expiration of Councilman Sam Randolph, said he contacted an attorney with the Alabama League of Municipalities for an opinion on the matter.

“They said it could be an ethical problem,” Evans said. “I didn’t think so (at the time), but they said since she would be receiving a salary it could be an ethics question.”

During the Jan. 22 regular meeting of the City Council, Allen was appointed to the water board by a 5-3 vote over Randolph being named to another term. Randolph, who has served on the board since 2000, did not cast a vote for himself. Allen did cast a vote for

herself. Allen could not be reached for comment. Randolph said if Allen’s vote is discounted, it would mean the board still has a vacancy.

“You have to get the majority of the votes of council members present,” Randolph said. “I did not vote because a council member cannot vote to place themselves on a board if they are going to receive compensation.”

Evans said the council “will probably have another vote.”

The previous 5-3 vote consisted of Evans, Allen, Councilmen Cecil Williamson and Reid Cain, and Council President Pro Tem Jean Martin voting in favor of Allen.

Councilman Johnnie Leashore and Councilwomen Jannie Venter and Bennie Ruth Crenshaw voted for Randolph’s reappointment to the Water & Sewer Board.

During the same meeting, Williamson sought to reduce the salaries of board members and the board chair

to $800 a month, and set board salaries at $900 a month for directors.

The measure did not pass, ending in a 4-4 tie. Five votes were needed to pass the measure.

Williamson, Cain, Allen and Evans voted to reduce the salaries. Martin, Randolph, Venter and Crenshaw voted to leave the salaries of the water board members as they were. Leashore did not vote.

Leashore, who is chairman of the water board, receives a $25,000 annual salary. Secretary/Treasurer Crenshaw receives $19,500 a year, Randolph, $9,600, and Lee E. Goodwin, $9,600. Mayor James Perkins Jr. serves as superintendent and receives an annual salary of $25,000.