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Williamson now council president

SELMA — Cecil Williamson, Ward 1 councilman and president pro-tem of the Selma City Council, now advances to the position of council president.

Williamson will fill the vacancy left by the death of Dr. Geraldine Allen’s on Saturday of cancer.

Lori Lein, deputy general council for the Alabama League of Municipalities, said generally a city of more than 12,000 population will fill a council president’s vacancy with the president pro-tem for the remainder of the term.

Then, the council will appoint someone to finish out the term in Williamson’s Ward 1 from within the ward.

Jimmy Nunn, the city’s attorney, said the council will meet Tuesday. At that time, he will present a resolution by which the council will declare Williamson’s Ward 1 seat vacant as Williamson rises to council president.

“The law will not allow the council to appoint the same night,” Nunn said.

The city attorney said the law stipulates the person appointed by the council to fill the Ward 1 vacancy must be qualified to fill that vacancy. For example, that person must live in the ward and be a registered voter in that ward.

The council will also appoint a president pro-tem to fill the vacancy in that slot as Williamson ascends to president of the council, Nunn said.

Lein said if the council does not fill the vacancy in Ward 1 within 60 days, then an election may be held.

Alabama state law says that if a city council in a Class 5 municipality cannot agree for more than 60 days to fill a vacancy, and if the term has six months or more remaining, it is then declared vacant and the mayor shall call for a special election to fill the vacancy. State law also stipulates if an election is held, the person elected shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term.