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Council elects Cecil Williamson as president pro-tem

The newly installed Selma City Council made some basic changes Monday during its organizational meeting, including the election of Ward 1 Councilman Cecil Williamson as president pro-tem.

Some political observers around the city had predicted a standoff among council members eve at this first meeting with a split in the vote over which senior member of the council, Bennie Ruth Crenshaw of Ward 7 or Williamson would garner enough support for the post. The president pro-tem acts in the absence of the council president.

But Williamson was the only nominee and was elected without any opposition. Williamson abstained from the vote.

“I thank y’all for giving me this honor,” he said after the vote. Williamson presided over the meeting.

On Monday, Crenshaw was sworn in at City Hall at noon. She did not attend the organizational meeting. Crenshaw was directing the Youth Ambassadors on procedures for today’s mock vote at the local schools.

“I had a room filled with children and they had to know the regulations for the mock vote,” she said. “I knew it was only going to be some procedural things. I know it wasn’t that much.”

During her installation ceremony, Crenshaw said she decided to take her oath at City Hall in council chambers because she had always done it on site.

Council President Geraldine Allen was sworn in earlier in the afternoon and did not attend the meeting. Williamson told the crowd gathered in the Miss Kitti Theater at the Performing Arts Center that Allen was ill.

Ward 5 Councilman Sam Randolph was sworn in on Friday. He was called away to military service. Randolph is a member of the Alabama National Guard.

In other business, the council voted to move its regular meetings from Mondays to the first and fourth Tuesdays of every month, beginning at 5 p.m.

Williamson said Mayor George Evans had suggested the change to give council members time to talk with him on Mondays about issues that might come before them on Tuesday.

When asked if the move meant the council would forgo work sessions, Williams said he didn’t know. “That would be up to President Allen,” he said. “I think we should continue to have the work sessions.”

During the last four years, the city council has met in work sessions the Thursday prior to Monday meetings to discuss agenda items and other matters of business. The work sessions are open to the public.

During its meeting, the council also voted to make all banks within the city limits official depositories if they participate in the same program. Former elected officials may purchase their Blackberries or cell phones at a reduced rate. Additionally, city employees and directors are temporarily employed.

The next meeting of the city council is set for Nov. 18.