New council readies for dutyPublished 12:04pm Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Though Alexander City’s newly elected council members and mayor will not be officially installed until Monday’s regularly scheduled council meeting, the group met at city hall yesterday to go over procedures.
Council member Bob Howard, who is the only incumbent from the previous council who retained his seat, walked the other council members through each item set to be voted on during the new council’s first meeting.
“We’re going to talk informally about what will happen Monday night,” Howard said. “When I came in four years ago I didn’t have any idea what we were going to do that first night, so this is just to lay out what’s going to happen.”
Howard and City Clerk Harriett Scott explained that city judge Randy Haynes will swear in the council members, and then the new council will vote on several items, including electing a new council president and a president pro-tempore.
Howard said the council president will then appoint council members to the finance, public safety, parks and recreation, utilities, public works, and buildings and properties committees.
The new council members then discussed potential changes to the order of procedures for meetings.
One suggested change came from Mayor-Elect Charles Shaw, who proposed moving pre-council to 5 p.m. and beginning council meetings at 5:30 p.m.
Howard and District 5 councilman-elect Jim Spann said they would like to be able to receive the meeting agenda by Thursday night so council members would have two full business days to review it before each council meeting.
“As a councilperson, you’re going to want to ask some questions,” Spann said. “I think if you had Friday and Monday, it would be better and give us more time. When you’ve got six new people, there are more questions than there are answers.”
The soon-to-be council also discussed the appointment of the mayor as superintendent of utilities, as well as the appointment of the police and fire chiefs, city clerk, finance director, city attorney and city judge.
“I’d like to learn what each of these have done and are planning to do in the next four years,” said District 6 councilman-elect Tony Goss.
Current District 1 councilman Bill Young reminded the incoming council members that the current council has had no disciplinary issues and that if an issue arose, the council could address the issue at that time.
Mayor Barbara Young also encouraged the new council to approve the current appointments.
“You all are working with professional people. I have worked so hard since I’ve been here for eight years to get every department I had on a professional level,” Mayor Young said. “When you start working with professional people who are formally trained with experience … and you say, ‘I’m not sure I want to keep you,’ it’s unfair. If one doesn’t do the job, and if it’s justified, release them or retrain them.”
The new council also discussed the installation of a sound system to be set up before each council meeting so those in attendance can hear better.
The new council will be put into office Nov. 5 at 5:30 p.m.