Supreme Court ruling:

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Neither council member should show up at water board meetings



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The Supreme Court of Alabama has ruled neither of the two city council members claiming ownership of a seat on the water board should show up until the matter is decided.

Officials are awaiting the state’s highest court to rule on appeal of a court ruling that essentially said it was the Selma City Council’s call.

The controversy has gone on since January 2007 over whether Councilwoman Dr. Geraldine Allen or Councilman Sam Randolph is the rightful member of the Selma Water Works & Sewer Board. Randolph’s term expired and the city council voted to appoint Allen.

However, water board members contend Allen did not receive enough votes to be named to the position. Randolph has said he should continue to serve as &8220;a holdover member&8221; until the matter is decided. The Supreme Court ruled &8220; the motion for injunction pending disposition of the appeal is granted.&8221;

But water board chairman Councilman Johnnie Leashore claimed having both Allen and Randolph show up for board meetings was &8220;disruptive.&8221; The water board’s attorney, Collins Pettaway, sought the injunction from the high court to keep Allen and Randolph from attending until the matter is decided.

The court’s decision, Pettaway said, was in the best interest of the water board.

The supreme court still has to hear the appeal and make its decision on whether the circuit court was correct in dismissing the case, saying the circuit court &8220;did not have standing,&8221; to decide who the rightful board member was.

Allen hired Selma attorney John Kelly III to represent her interests. He said the injunction &8220;doesn’t change anything.&8221;

Kelly said they would &8220;be happy to go over there for a trial, if it’s determined the court has jurisdiction.&8221;

During the City Council meeting held Jan. 22, Allen was appointed to the water board by a 5-3 vote over Randolph, who had served on the board since 2000. Randolph’s term had expired.

The vote sparked a controversy over whether the appointment was legitimate, since Allen voted for her self. Randolph did not cast a vote for himself.

An injunction was filed in February in Dallas County Circuit Court on behalf of the Selma Water & Sewer Board seeking to keep both council members from attending water board meetings until the issue was resolved. On June 27, Circuit Judge Tommy Jones ruled he &8220;lacks standing&8221; and the matter should be decided by the city council.

The Alabama Ethics Commission earlier ruled that there was no violation when the city council voted to place Allen on the water board, and the council could re-vote on the matter.