Council member discusses removing mayor’s appointment power

Published 8:32 pm Saturday, February 17, 2018

Councilman Sam Randolph has proposed removing appointment power from the mayor for four different city positions and giving it to the council.

The idea was discussed last Tuesday night during a council meeting. City Attorney Jimmy Nunn said according to state law, the council currently has the power to appoint the city clerk, city treasurer and the two municipal judges.

“The mayor has any and all appointment power unless otherwise stated by state law,” Nunn told the council.

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He said the mayor has the authority to appoint the police and fire chiefs, as well as city attorney and tax collector. To remove that power, Nunn said it would require an ordinance passed by the council, which would give them the power to appoint those positions.

Randolph then asked Nunn to draw up an ordinance removing the appointment power from the mayor.

Randolph said the reason he proposed the idea is because he feels like the mayor and council are not working together.

“I think it is important for the mayor to work with the council, and it seems like he don’t have the desire to work with the council,” Randolph said. “I think it’s important for the council to be able to control certain things in the city because the mayor doesn’t respect us as a whole body. That’s one of the reasons.”

Randolph said giving the council appointment power would also give them more access to those department heads.

“As it stands now, we cannot talk to department heads or anything like that, so we would be able to talk to them as individuals and request things from them,” Randolph said.

Melton said he feels like the move is political and does not have any true benefits.

“The law says the council members only have authority two days out of the month, and that’s when they meet, so the other 29 days everything falls under the mayor’s jurisdiction,” Melton said. “They can’t give any directives and can’t supervise anybody, according to the law, so to me it sounds like its political.”

Melton said he feels like the people serving in those roles are doing a good job.

“I think the men and the women who are serving in those capacities are doing a great job. I support what they’re doing, and hopefully it is the council’s intent to support the men and women who are occupying those positions currently,” Melton said. “I think we have the best fire chief, the best police chief, the best tax assessor and city attorney in the city of Selma already operating in those capacities.”

Melton said no matter who has appointment power, those positions still answer to the mayor’s office.

“I’m not sure what the thought is behind that, but as the law states, all city employees fall up under the jurisdiction of the mayor,” he said.

“So whoever is in those positions still answers to the mayor’s office.”

Randolph said he is not sure if the ordinance will pass or not, but it is something he will continue to push in an effort to get the council and mayor on the same page.

“He can write the ordinance, but if we don’t have five votes, it won’t pass. I don’t know if we’ll have five votes. We’ll have to wait and see,” Randolph said.

The mayor wrote an open letter to the council this past week asking for a one on one meeting with each member to work out their differences.