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Settlement brings Water Board lawsuit to conclusion

A settlement reached by the Selma Water Works and Sewer Board, Dr. Geraldine Allen and Samuel Randolph has ended a lawsuit that has lasted nearly two years.

The settlement agreed to have the injunction previously issued Feb. 16, 2007, to prohibit Allen and Randolph from sitting on the Water Board, and to allow Allen her seat on the Water Board. Randolph was awarded about $3,000 in damages.

Circuit Judge Thomas R. Jones signed an order Tuesday immediately dissolving the injunction.

The case stemmed from a Jan. 22, 2007, action of the Selma City Council after it voted to appoint allen to the Water and Sewer Board to fill Councilman Sam Randolph’s expired position. Randolph’s term expired in October 2006, but he had continued to serve in a holdover capacity. Members of the Water Board refused to allow Allen to take her seat.

During the January 2007 meeting, of the eight votes cast, Allen received five and Randolph three votes. Allen’s vote for herself constituted one of the five. The Water and Sewer Board alleged that by voting for herself in the selection, she violated the state Code of Ethics for Public Officials, which prevents elected officials or government employees or their families from financially benefitting from action by a governmental body on which the individual or relative serves.

After elections in November, a majority of the Selma City Council voted to appoint Allen and Councilman B.L. Tucker as directors of the Water Board. Allen did not vote for herself in that election.

Shortly after the appointment, Allen took her seat on the board, but at least two members — Millie Vick and Bennie Ruth Crenshaw — left meetings early.

“We were not sure that it was legal for Dr. Allen to be on the board,” said Vick. “She voted on some important issues.”

Crenshaw agreed, saying she wanted the court to rule before she agreed to sit at the table with Allen. “I was not sure,” she said.

Of the injunction, the Rev. Lee Goodwin said that the judge had lifted it. The injunction stemmed from actions two years ago. “I had already seated her,” Goodwin said of Allen, “so there were no other repercussions.”