Popwell resigns as registrar chairman

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bill Popwell has resigned as chairman of the Chilton County Board of Registrars, at the request of Gov. Bob Riley’s office.

Popwell said he received a letter from one of the governor’s legal advisors informing him that his resignation would be effective May 30.

“I don’t know why, and I haven’t talked to Governor Riley,” said Popwell, 83, who has served as board chairman for about five and a half years.

Popwell contacted the legal advisor’s office and said he couldn’t resign on May 30 for two reasons — he was in the process of posting address changes in a precinct and needed to complete that precinct, and he had planned to visit Washington, D.C. from May 29 through June 2.

“I offered to resign on June 15,” he said. “They re-sent the letter, and I signed it and sent it back.”

Popwell indicated he would have preferred the governor speak with him directly rather than sending a letter via an advisor. He said Riley knows him on a first-name basis, as “Bill.”

“If he doesn’t want me to fulfill this office, I don’t want his appointment,” Popwell added.

Allen Caton, a Chilton County commissioner and member of the state executive committee for the Republican Party, received a letter from the appointment secretary of Riley’s office asking him to send recommendations for the job. Caton complied.

“I hate losing Mr. Popwell,” Caton said in a phone interview. “He has done an excellent job in the Board of Registrars office.”

The governor will reappoint a chairman but is not expected to do so until at least July because he is currently out of the country on an industrial recruiting trip.

Popwell, who had heart surgery in December 2008, said he was doing well.

“I’m proud of my health, and it did not interfere with me doing me job,” he said.