Clanton declares Ward 4 vacant

Published 9:42 pm Monday, November 10, 2008

Clanton City Council officially passed a motion last night that declared the Ward 4 seat vacant and set a special meeting for Monday night to discuss who the council will appoint to the seat.

Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver explained that an order issued by Circuit Judge John Bush Friday gave the city council 60 days to appoint a person to fill the position. Mayor Driver explained if the city council did not fill the vacant seat within the 60-day limit; the city council would then be required to provide names of potential appointees to the governor who would then have 30 days to make the appointment.

Judge Bush’s order also called for a special election to be held if neither the city council nor the governor appoints a person to fill the seat within the 90-day period.

The court order was the result of Judge Bush’s ruling that William Trimble, the October 7 winner of the run-off election for the Ward 4 seat, did not live in Ward 4 and could not be declared the winner of the seat. The runner-up in the run-off election, Greg DeJarnett, was the plaintiff in the case.

Last night Trimble told the council he would not have run (for the seat) if he thought owning two houses (one inside the ward and one outside the ward) was have caused a problem.

“Ocie Williams, president of Concerned Citizens of Chilton County, asked the council to consider appointing Elizabeth Hill to serve in the Ward 4 seat “until the next election.” Mrs. Hill was appointed during the last council term to complete her late husband’s term of office on the council.

Williams presented the council with a petition, “signed by approximately 100 Ward 4 voters,” requesting the council to appoint Mrs. Hill.

Driver said the council could only declare the seat vacant at last night’s meeting and would take no other action at that time. The council agreed to call a special meeting Nov. 17 to discuss the matter further. He said the council would go into special session during the meeting to discuss the good name and character of people and the public would not be allowed to be present during the discussions.

He said the council could take no action within the special session and would have to convene again in regular session before any vote on the matter could be taken.

– Mike Kelley can be reached at