Water board takes legal action

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 19, 2007


An injunction filed in Dallas County Circuit Court on behalf of the Selma Water & Sewer Board seeks to prevent both council members embroiled in a controversial vote from attending today’s regular water board meeting until the matter is decided.

Water board attorney Collins Pettaway said the reason to ask a judge to step in is “to be able to operate properly.”

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“Before either party (is seated), whether its Dr. Geraldine Allen or Councilman (Sam) Randolph, we would like for them to be the legal member,” Pettaway said. “We want a judge to make that call.”

According to the complaint filed in court, the water board “does not want Allen and Randolph to attend if it is not proper for either to attend and participate as it may affect the votes taken. Also, the fee due the director is in question. The board does not want to pay the fee to the wrong director.”

The payment of a salary is another issue with Allen, who after casting a vote for herself to serve on the water board, said she would not attend the meetings until the matter is resolved, and she would not accept the $9,600 salary.

Circuit Judge Tommy Jones granted relief Friday afternoon to the water board, restraining both Allen and Randolph from occupying the water board seat.

A hearing is set for Wednesday at 10 a.m.

The water board consists of five members, with three of the slots reserved for members of the Selma City Council.

Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw and Councilman Johnnie Leashore currently serve on the water board, along with the Rev. Lee Goodwin and recently appointed Aubrey “Brother” Vick. Leashore serves as chairman, Crenshaw as secretary/treasurer and Mayor James Perkins Jr. is the utility’s superintendent.

The controversial vote was over who would fill the expired term of Randolph.

A 5-3 vote that included Allen voting for herself, sparked the call to higher authorities. Randolph abstained.

City Attorney Jimmy Nunn informed council members of inquiries made to the Alabama Ethics Commission, which ruled Allen should have abstained and said the city must correct this by “rescinding the action that was taken to place the Councilwoman on the Board.”

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. Leashore, Councilwomen Jannie Venter and Crenshaw voted for Randolph’s reappointment to the Water & Sewer Board.

The chairman of the water board receives a $25,000 annual salary. Secretary/Treasurer receives $19,500 a year, and Goodwin, $9,600. Perkins receives an annual salary of $25,000 as superintendent.