Clanton City Council finally full

Published 9:51 pm Monday, December 22, 2008

Greg DeJarnett was sworn in to represent Ward 4 on Clanton’s City Council Monday night.

He was appointed to the position by a unanimous vote of the council at its Dec. 8 meeting.

He received the most votes in the municipal election for Ward 4 in August but was runner-up in the October run-off election against William Trimble. DeJarnett later filed suit in civil court contesting Trimble’s election to the council on the basis that Trimble did not live in Ward 4, a requirement to run for and hold that seat on the council.

Circuit Court Judge John Bush ruled that Trimble did not live in Ward 4 and threw out his election. In the ruling, Bush ordered the city council to either appoint a person to the Ward 4 seat or recommend people to be considered by the governor to fill the position. The ruling said if neither the council nor the governor made the appointment, a special election would have to be held to fill the seat.

Some residents in Ward 4 presented a petition to the council that requested it to appoint Elizabeth Hill to the open seat. She was appointed by the council to fill Ward 4’s seat when her husband, Elem, died with seven months left on his term of office. Ms. Hill did not run for the Ward 4 seat in the August election.

Last night, Trimble said residents of Ward 4 had asked him to address the council about its decision to appoint DeJarnett to the council position.

He said those he represented did not believe their wishes were considered by the council. He said since the council made the appointment against their wishes, they hoped the entire council would work to represent the people of Ward 4.

Mayor Billy Joe Driver assured Trimble that the entire council would work to represent all districts and would work hard to assist DeJarnett in his representation of the district.

In other business, the council voted to change life insurance coverage for city employees to Reliance Standard. Paul Conner, representing Reliance Standard, explained the company would provide the same coverage for less than the city would have to pay in premiums if it remained with the company currently providing the coverage. He said the premiums of Reliance Standard would remain the same for at least three years.

Charles Traywick asked Councilmember Mary Mell Smith if she had the opportunity to discuss with Police Chief Brian Stilwell the cotton issue he brought up at the Dec. 8 meeting. Smith said the chief had been in office only two weeks and she had not brought the matter to his attention. Traywick suggested that she meet with City Attorney Jackson and former police chief James Henderson about the matter prior to bringing Stilwell up to date on the matter.

Traywick and other residents along Highway 22 have complained about cotton blowing into yards off cotton haulers that have unloaded their cotton at nearby Planters Gin.