Council selects new THA board nominee

Published 9:13 am Monday, July 13, 2015

The Demopolis City Council has withdrawn its nominee to the Tombigbee Health Authority board and approved a different nominee during a meeting on Thursday, July 2.
The city council had submitted Riley Wells as its nominee to the board, but the THA board rejected the nominee stating that council did not follow proper protocol in formulating the decision. THA board chairman Jay Shows attended Thursday’s council meeting where he apologized to the council for the possible lack of communication in how his board is handling appointments.
“I wanted to publicly apologize (to the council) for the lack of communication; it proves that this is new to all of us,” Shows said.
Shows went on to explain that the THA has been working since 2014 to meet the guidelines set in 1994 on how healthcare authorities select board members. According to that 1994 statute, healthcare authorities provide a list of names from which the city council will select its nominee. The THA board provided three names to the council, but the council had chosen to select its own nominee in Wells.
“The board is committed to following the law as we see it,” Shows said.
City Attorney Bill Poole said the THA has not followed the statute for 20 years and that the authority never provided the city a certified resolution, which is a requirement of the law.
Ultimately, the council withdrew Wells’ name as its nominee and selected Michael Patterson as its nominee. Patterson was among the three names provided by the THA.
The decision was not popular with some members of the council and Mayor Mike Grayson.
“We are charged with representing the people,” Grayson said. “It escapes me why we get to nominate five members to the board and suddenly our nominations aren’t being accepted.”
Councilman Harris Nelson said the change takes away from the influence the council might have on the THA board.
“By taking away our right to name candidates (of the council’s chosing), you handcuff us,” Nelson said.
Councilman Bill Meador had made the motion to nominate Wells during a June meeting, but said he wanted to get past the issue.
“I came up with someone I thought would do a good job,” Meador said. “I will withdraw my motion for Riley Wells and provide a new nominee to get this behind us.”
Mayor Grayson voted “no” to a motion to withdraw Wells’ name.
“It is wrong. This is a one-way compromise and is not representing the people,” he said.
Patterson was approved as the council’s nominee with the mayor abstaining and Meador voting “no.”

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