Trimble can’t take office Monday

Published 1:39 pm Thursday, October 30, 2008

Circuit Judge John Bush ruled yesterday that William Trimble would not take the oath of office as a Clanton City Councilmember on Monday.

Bush made the ruling after listening to both sides in a contest filed over the Ward 4 city council election. Trimble won the Oct. 7 runoff for the Ward 4 seat but his opponent, Greg Dejarnett, contested Trimble’s election, claiming Trimble did not meet the requirement of living within Ward 4.

Yesterday’s hearing was to rule on a request from DeJarnett that Trimble not be allowed to take office since he had contested Trimble’s election.

Trimble said at the beginning of the hearing that he was qualified to run for the Ward 4 seat on the council and represented himself. Dejarnett was represented by Bill Speaks.

Kim Gillespie, chief clerk for the Chilton County Tax Assessor’s office, testified that Trimble was listed as the owner of a home located at 1354 Kincheon Road and that Trimble had acquired a homestead exemption on that property. The home is located in Ward 5 in Clanton.

DeJarnett testified that he had visited Trimble at Trimble’s home on Kincheon Road (over the years) and that a second home within Ward 4 owned by Trimble was not “in my opinion” in a state where someone could live.

Pam Kelley, representing the Chilton County Board of Registrars, testified that in August Trimble was listed as a qualified voter in Clanton’s Ward 5.

Trimble called no witnesses but told Judge Bush he has furniture in the house (located in Ward 4) and has spent time living there.

Speaks told the court that Trimble was listed by the tax assessor’s office as the owner of the home on Kincheon Road and signed an oath that the Kincheon Road home was his permanent residence when he filed for homestead exemption on that home.

Judge Bush said he would issue an order by the end of the day yesterday that would keep Trimble from being sworn in as the Ward 4 council member on Monday when the mayor and other elected council members are sworn in at Clanton’s City Hall.

He set the trial date for the election contest for Friday, Nov. 7.

Judge Bush explained it was important to handle this matter quickly because as he believed a special election may have to be held to fill the seat on the council.