Sparks flew at Selma City Council meeting

Published 7:18 am Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Selma City Council meeting took a bizarre turn on Tuesday night.

During the middle of the Mayor’s Report by Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. who was discussing options for cleanup continuation after the 100% reimbursement ends in two weeks.

City Council President Billy Young said that Perkins was publicly releasing options that went way beyond any discussions they discussed. Young commented on something that Perkins did not like.

Email newsletter signup

Perkins approached Young at his seat and whispered something to him. Young sat stunned for 15 seconds as Perkins walked back to the podium.

Young exploded and fired into Perkins for nearly two minutes. Young felt Perkins insulted him. “Mayor Perkins, I have never gotten in your face, what you did was disrespectful,” Young said. “Don’t ever do that again.”

Perkins looked to the audience and talked about public conversation against private conversation.

“President Young is upset and I don’t care. I thought the public would be pleased if we were hammering out the details. I did show you respect.”

Young said the conversation with Perkins didn’t progress as far as Tuesday did.“When we talked, we didn’t have a decision on what would happen after the 100 % was done,” Young said. “A lot of things you said tonight, it was the first time we talked about it. I talked to Planning and Development Director Danielle Wooten. When you approached me, I perceived it as disrespect.”

As Perkins left City Hall, City Councilman Clay Carmichael motioned to

dismiss the council meeting. Six members voted to keep the meeting going.

Other council members commented on the argument between Perkins and Young. “I think sometimes we take stuff too personally,” City Councilman Sam Randolph said. “Some people need to deal with certain situations.”

City Councilwoman Lesia James said the tense words between Perkins and Young aren’t helping Selma. “Egos need to go,” James said. “We can’t afford to be doing this. We’ve got to start acting like we’re the city council and the Mayor in Selma.”

City Councilman Michael Johnson said the situation was on both Perkins and Young. “Both of you are out of line,” Johnson told Young.

Young replied: “No one came and got in your face.’’.

Johnson told Carmichael: “Pro temp, next time that happens, do your job and go get the gavel. You the next in line so just go get the gavel and go gavel.”

Carmichael’s response: “My only job as pro temp is to act when he (council President) is not present, and I brought a motion to the floor in order to (adjourn), it failed, so let’s move on.”

Young responded to Johnson: “It’s your opinion that I was out of line. I wasn’t out of line.”

The meeting resumed and concluded after over three hours.