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Incoming board discusses alderman opening
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Who will fill the vacant spot left on city board when Alderman Jimmy Haley is seated as mayor Nov. 27? Anyone, as long as they meet the legal requirements, can be considered.
Once seated, the board will consist of Aldermen Jimmy Bonner, Mike Neal, Ben Newman, Billy Wood, Rick Barnes and Mayor Haley. Members can nominate anyone, as long as the person is a city resident and a registered voter, including the individuals who unsuccessfully ran during this election.
Newman says he is against giving the position to an incumbent who was not re-elected.
“I am of the opinion that people of this city did not want to renew the incumbents,” Newman said. “If the people wanted them there, they would have elected them. I know Everett Brock personally and I like him, but the voters have spoken.”
Bonner says he wants to consider giving the position to non-incumbents who ran in the election.
“I don’t think we should put an incumbent back on the board who got defeated,” Bonner said. “I think we should consider those who ran, but not the incumbents. I would like to consider Jason Gross or Darren Pack.”
Neal says he is open to suggestions.
“I have heard it should go to the next person with the most votes,” said Neal. “I think that would be Everett Brock. I have heard others says that people voted for a change, so we shouldn’t do that. I haven’t made my mind up either way.”
Haley says the board should look outside the box and hire someone who didn’t run in the election.
“I wouldn’t want to give the seat to someone who campaigned against me,” said Haley, when asked about giving the vacant spot to someone who ran in the election and lost. “If you pick someone who did not get elected, but not the next person in line, I don’t think we can justify that.”
A team player is the individual who will get Haley’s vote.
“We need someone who is a team player who will work with the other board members and help us move the city closer to a common vision,” said Haley. “I have had several folks approach me about wanting that job, but I have made no promises to anyone.”
As the only seated member of the current board, Wood has no suggestions about a specific person for the vacancy.
“The voters have sent a new board to represent them so I think they should choose someone who can help them forward their agenda,” said Wood. “They need to make that decision. If it’s someone I think is capable of doing the job, I would have no reason to object.”
Barnes could not be reached for comment.