Two named to city’s water board

Published 8:17 pm Friday, March 3, 2017

The Selma City Council voted this week to appoint two citizens to the Selma Water Works and Sewer Board.

Rod West was reappointed to the board, while James Ware was also approved. The council considered eight candidates for the two open positions: West, Ware, Glenn King Jr., the Rev. Will Jackson, Frank Chestnut Jr., Robert Green, former mayor George Evans and Dr. Kirit Chapatwala.

Council President Corey Bowie, Susan Youngblood, Angela Benjamin, Sam Randolph and Jannie Thomas voted for West, while Bowie, Carl Bowline, Susan Youngblood, Johnny Leashore and Michael Johnson voted for Ware.

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There was a discussion about whether former mayor should have been considered. More than 20 people were interviewed for the board, and a council committee narrowed the list down to the eight candidates considered Tuesday.

Leashore said the nomination of Evans was a disservice to current Mayor Darrio Melton, who is superintendent of the water board.

“I am sorely disappointed in you bringing the former mayor to this council,” Leashore told Bowie. “This is a disservice to the current mayor. It’s just unthinkable that this committee would even consider bringing the former mayor.”

Bowie said when Evans applied he was the same as any other citizen.

“You are entitled to your opinion. When the former mayor came to submit his application, he was a citizen again. If you open it up, you open it up to everybody,” Bowie said.

Evans received the third highest number of votes from Bowie, Benjamin, Sam Randolph and Thomas.

The council also discussed whether there should be one or two council members on the water board. After motions to nominate Leashore and Youngblood, the council voted to have one council member on the board.

Leashore said he thought two council members should be on the board because they are elected and can be held accountable by voters.

“I believe firmly that there should be two council members appointed to this board … Have elected officials over the people’s water supply,” Leashore said.

Leashore was joined by Randolph and Johnson in wanting two council members on the board.

However, Bowie, Bowline, Youngblood, Benjamin and Thomas voted for one. Miah Jackson abstained.

“It will not matter to me whose name is getting called because I’m for one council member going over there,” Benjamin said.

Youngblood made the motion for one council member to serve, adding that the council needed to move forward.

“If we see a reason to change it, we can. We have some really good applicants for the water board,” Youngblood said.

In November, the council appointed Councilman Michael Johnson to replace outgoing Councilman Benny Tucker.

The appointments follow a discussion about the board and how many seats are open.

City Attorney Jimmy Nunn told the council that he believed four out of five seats were due for an appointment.

However, water board member Robert Allen and water board attorneys contended Allen’s term goes into 2018. The council voted previously to allow Allen to continue to serve until 2018. Millie Vick’s term also expires the same year.

The new board will be Robert Allen, Michael Johnson, Millie Vick, James Ware and Rod West.

The pay for Selma Water Works and Sewer Board members was doubled by the city council in December 2015 to the state maximum of $400 a month.