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Commission fires county attorney

Hale County is looking to hire a new attorney.

Barrown Lankster, who operates a law office in Demopolis and serves as an assistant District Attorney to DA Michael Jackson, was dismissed from his position as Hale County attorney at the Hale Commission’s meeting Tuesday morning.

The Commission’s decision was far from unanimous, though. Commissioner Walter Allen moved that the county “dispense with the services of Mr. Lankster,” and the motion received a second from Commissioner Eliga Knox. The Commission’s votes split 2-2 on the motion, however, with Allen and Knox voting in favor and commissioners Yolanda Watkins and Joe Lee Hamilton voting against.

“I just can’t do that,” Hamilton said.

The tie meant that Commission chair Leland Avery, who only votes in the case of a tie, would cast the deciding vote. Avery voted in favor and the motion passed.

Why Lankster fell out of favor with the Commission is uncertain, however. Aside from Hamilton’s brief comment, there was no discussion of the motion. Afterwards, Avery declined to comment on what had motivated his or the Commission’s decision.

Lankster also declined to comment when contacted Tuesday afternoon.

The Commission did not make any indication when the position might be filled.

In other news from the Tuesday Hale Commission meeting:

* The Commission approved the purchase of two brand new tri-axle dump trucks for county use for the cost of more than $93,000 a piece. Avery said the steep costs of the trucks were covered by a program in which Hale buys new trucks and sells the previous year’s trucks every year. Between money raised by the truck’s sales and their use in filling private orders, not only are the next year’s trucks already paid for, Avery said, but the county can in fact make money on the transaction. And in the meantime, the county enjoys the benefits of using brand-new trucks. Avery said that before instituting the program, the county spent as much as $150,000 a year repairing old trucks. The program is in place for other heavy equipment as well.

* Roads winding through the Valley View subdivision in northern Hale were officially named county roads. Allen, who said he lives near the subdivision, said the proper paperwork for the county’s adoption of the roads was filed by Harland Home Builders several years ago, but that the Commission had yet to give their OK. “The Health Department signed off. The septic tank is in good shape. The roads are paved and in good shape,” Allen said. “The Commission just has to accept the roads as county roads.” The motion passed unanimously, and Allen immediately asked the county’s engineer to begin filling potholes that have sprung up on the roads.