Judge voids election

Published 2:34 pm Friday, November 7, 2008

Circuit Judge John Bush voided the Oct. 7 election in Clanton Ward 4, meaning winner Bill Trimble cannot serve on the Clanton City Council.

The order states that the vacancy on the council will be filled according to state law, which means the Clanton City Council must appoint the new person.

City attorney John Hollis Jackson said the council would have to vacate the open seat at Monday’s council meeting.

“The council now has the authority to select a person to fill the vacancy,” Jackson said. “We intend to fully comply with Judge Bush’s ruling.”

The council’s appointee must be a registered voter in Ward 4, and the person must be approved with a majority vote.

If the council doesn’t appoint the person within 60 days of Nov. 3, the mayor and council members may submit names to the governor for appointment. If the governor fails to appoint a person within 90 days of when the vacancy occurred, then the probate judge will call for a special election to fill the vacancy.

Bush issued his decision following a hearing held at 8 a.m. The hearing was the result of a contest filed by Greg DeJarnett, the runner-up in the Oct. 7 runoff election for the Ward 4 seat. DeJarnett contested the election based on his belief that Trimble was not resident of Ward 4, a requirement to hold the position on the council.

The court ruled Trimble is not a registered voter in Ward 4 and is ineligible to represent the district.

On Oct. 30, Bush ruled the City of Clanton could not issue the oath of office to Trimble and set Friday as the date for the hearing on the matter.

Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver said the council would make the decision as to how the seat will be filled.