Ward 3 will vote

Published 11:13 pm Monday, November 22, 2010

Councilwoman Dr. Monica Newton of Ward 3 says she plans to resign her position during the first meeting in January, shortly before she leaves to live in Atlanta.

That should come Jan. 11.

Council President Cecil Williamson said he’d call a special-called meeting immediately after the Jan. 11 regular meeting so the council may declare her seat vacant.

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If the council carries out this move, the declared vacancy will start the clock running — 60 days — toward a special election to fill Newton’s seat.

Monday night, during a city council work session, Newton said she had canvassed her ward about whether the council should call for an election or appoint someone to fill her vacant slot.

Newton said most of her constituents prefer an election. “They don’t like how long the process would take,” she said.

Council members present at Monday’s work session said they favored an election over an appointment. Those present were Corey Bowie, Angela Benjamin, Williamson, B.L. Tucker and Tommy Atchison. Those are five votes, a majority of the council with Newton’s resignation.

This is the second vacancy in less than a year on the city council. The first was in April after Council President Geraldine Allen died of cancer. Williamson was the council pro-tem and ascended to her position, leaving a vacancy in his Ward 1.

At that time, the council waited a couple of weeks before declaring Williamson’s seat vacant out of respect for Allen.

A majority of the council opted for an election then, although some special-interest groups put pressure on council members to appoint someone to the vacancy.

Atchison won the election and was sworn into office in September.