Abrams upset with Eutaw council

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 29, 2004

Benny Abrams III, the son of the late Eutaw City Councilman B.L. Abrams Jr., complained Tuesday to the council that his father’s wishes for him to succeed Abrams on the council were not honored.

Abrams Jr. died Dec. 1, 2003. The council voted at their Jan. 13 meeting to appoint Lew Bostick to replace Abrams. Bostick would have been sworn in at Tuesday’s meeting, but he could not attend due to an emergency.

The council began the meeting by presenting a resolution to the Abrams family honoring the late councilman and his service to the city and county.

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However, after receiving the honorary plaques, Benny Abrams III told the council of the shock and disbelief of his family after learning another person had been chosen.

He said his father had asked him to consider filling the council position. Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele and both councilmen Cecil Durrett Jr. and David Spencer had talked to him about the position, Abrams said.

He told Spencer, “I would gladly serve out the balance of his term.”

After Bostick was chosen instead, Abrams said the resolution presented to the family was “a travesty….It is a slap in my face, my family’s face and especially my mom’s.

“…Mr. Bostick should step down.

(After his father’s many years of service to the city) “…it’s a hard pill for this fellow, my family, to swallow.”

“I do understand your feelings,” said Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele. “I don’t have an answer.”

Councilman David Spencer said he had talked to Abrams Dec. 23 and thought there was a conflict of interest with the younger Abrams being a volunteer fire chief.

Abrams said there was no conflict of interest. “There is no salary,” Abrams said of his work as fire chief. He named a number of people who have served on the council who might have had conflicts of interest.

“Everybody loves you and your family,” Spencer said. Some people in District 5 had expressed concern about a conflict of interest. “Nobody had any ill will,” he said.

“State law says the council will select the successor,” said city attorney Mike Smith, in answer to a question from the public.

Durrett said he had received letters, call and personal recommendations from some 25 people from District 5.