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Russell re-appointed to BOE

The Demopolis City Council voted by a 4-2 margin Thursday to reappoint Linda Russell to the city schools board of education.

The vote, which drew the ire of some two dozen teachers and other community members at the meeting, came after a 23-minute executive session. Prior to the closed door session, the council opened its discussion with Mayor Mike Grayson nominating Tannda Elliott for Russell’s seat, which expired in April 2011 but went unnoticed by the municipality’s governing body for nearly a full calendar year.

Grayson’s nomination warranted an objection from Councilman Mitchell Congress, who stated that it was his understanding the council would vote between previously nominated candidates Charles Jones Sr. and Russell.

After some deliberation on the matter, Congress motioned that his nomination of Jones be withdrawn in favor of deciding between Russell and Elliott for the seat. Bill Meador seconded the motion before Jack Cooley suggested the group head into executive session to discuss “good name and character.” Cooley’s suggestion led to the withdrawal of Congress’ motion and the council’s decision to enter in executive session.

When the vote finally took place, Grayson and Cooley opted against the motion while Congress, Meador, Thomas Moore and Melvin Yelverton voted in favor of it.

The majority vote puts Russell officially back on the board for a second term retroactive to the expiration of her first term, which took place in the spring of 2011.

As Grayson exited Rooster Hall, a number of the DCS faculty members still lingered on the adjacent sidewalk, sporadically voicing their desire for change on the board of education. If any such change is to come, it will likely arrive in April as Bobby Armstead’s seat on the BOE opens up. Armstead, who began serving on the BOE June 1, 2002, is concluding his second term on the board.

Other city council business Thursday evening included the appointment of Maria Smith to the Parks and Recreation Board by a 4-1 margin with Cooley abstaining and Meador serving as the lone negative vote. She will fill the seat of Chris Stewart, whom the council chose not to reappoint following the conclusion of his second term on the board. The council also voted to reappoint David Freeman to the board following the conclusion of his first term.

The council also appointed Hester Brown to the Historic Preservation Commission.