“How do they know what my vision is for the city?” said Deborah Howard, who said she still plans to run for the District 1 council spot. “I would have liked to have been interviewed.”
Howard, who works in the St. Clair County Registrar’s office and had just returned from vacation, said it would seem like common courtesy to interview or talk with candidates interested in the vacant council position before a decision was made.
The mayor and council unanimously approved to appoint Jay Jenkins to serve the unexpired term of former Councilman Greg Gossett, who resigned last month. Gossett resigned from the council to take the job as street superintendent for the city.
Jenkins will serve the remainder of Gossett’s term, which expires the first Monday in November.
“I’m kind of irate,” said local businessman Terry Lee, who is a life-long resident of Pell City. “How do you pick someone when you didn’t even interview anybody to fill the position?”
Lee, who was the only District 1 council candidate to qualify for the upcoming municipal election before Monday night’s council vote, said he thought that it was important to fill the position so District I residents would have representation on the council.
But both Howard and Lee thought the mayor and council should have at least talked with possible candidates for the vacant council position.
“How did they reach their decision without talking to possible candidates?” Howard asked. “I guess they just went on their own personal knowledge of us.”
Jenkins said he was approached by people who asked him to run in the last couple of elections.
“When Greg (Gossett) resigned, someone mentioned they would fill the slot,” he said.
Jenkins said he was told the mayor and council wanted to fill the council spot with someone who was going to run in the upcoming election.
Jenkins qualified for the District 1 council race Tuesday.
“I want to do the best job I can for the people,” Jenkins said Tuesday.
Jenkins said he will vote his convictions, and he is not tied to anyone or any group.
Jenkins said he will try to follow the law and do the right thing as the new District 1 council representative.
“You try to make the best decisions with the information you have,” he said.
There was limited discussion about the candidates, and the names of the candidates were not publicly announced.
After Monday’s work session and before the council meeting, Mayor Bill Hereford would only say there were 3-4 people who had shown interest in the position.
The council agenda was amended Monday night so the mayor and council could consider filling the vacant District 1 seat. Councilman Donnie Todd said there were three people with only one position to fill.
“All are excellent people,” he said, before making a motion to have Jenkins fill the unexpired term.
Councilman Donnie Guinn seconded the motion and the council voted unanimously, after suspending the rules upon the recommendation of the city attorney, to appoint Jenkins to the District 1 council seat.
Jenkins graduated from Pell City High School in 1967. He has a business degree from Jacksonville State University, where he minored in economics.
He said his hobbies are slow pitch softball and car racing.
Jenkins retired from the State of Alabama Department of Industrial Relations after 26 years of service.
He is a small business owner/operator of All-Pro Trophy, a trophy, plaque and awards retail business, since 1983.
Jenkins is the past president and current secretary for the Rotary Club of Pell City and has either been an officer or board member with the local non-profit group since 1991.
He also serves on the St. Clair County Chapter of the Literacy Council, and served as a board member since the council’s inception in 1997.
Contact David Atchison at firstname.lastname@example.org.