Ward 1 residents favor an election

Published 9:57 pm Saturday, April 17, 2010

By Laura Fenton and Chris Wasson

Selma Times-Journal

A majority of the Selma Ward 1 residents interviewed by The Selma Times-Journal say they prefer a special election to fill the city council seat vacated by the Rev. Dr. Cecil Williamson. As city council president pro tem, Williamson moved to the city council president’s seat vacated by the death last week of Dr. Geraldine Allen.

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Times-Journal reporters went door-to-door in the ward over the course of two days and interviewed residents, asking them whether they preferred a special election to fill the Ward 1 seat or whether they preferred the council to appoint someone. The reporters talked to about 100 people in the ward and only the remarks of those who said they are registered to vote were counted in the results.

On Tuesday the city council is expected to officially declare the Ward 1 position vacant.

Alabama law states that the council can appoint a representative to fill the open seat for the remainder of the nearly two-and-a-half year term. The law goes on to say that if the council cannot agree on an appointee, then a special election is declared.

“Let the people decide and let them have an election,” said Marlo Ellis. “You might just appoint somebody to the board that may not be in the best interest of Ward 1.”

James Johnson said, “You give the opportunity for all the people in the ward to say so as to who should be serving. We really need to get somebody who is going to look out for the ward and I don’t know whether you can do that by having someone appointed because that could be anybody.”

Others in Ward 1 felt that it would be better for the council to make the appointment.

“There is no money for a special election. Selma needs to be saving money instead of spending it on a special election,” said Alicia Nettles. “How bad can one person mess one vote up, up there?”

Still others are undecided on the issue.

“I don’t know,” said Ann Mctigue. “When this happened it caught me off guard. I know it is going to be one or the other, but I don’t know what I want. It’s going to be hard to replace Cecil.”