Dickens steps down as council president

Published 5:43 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2011

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham City Councilman Mike Dickens stepped down from his position as council president during a Nov. 7 meeting, shortly before the council elected Councilwoman Teresa Nichols to fill the role.


During the “council comments” section of the Nov. 7 meeting, Dickens, who has been serving on the council since 1996, announced he was “enacting a self-imposed term limit” on himself as council president.

Dickens had been serving as council president for seven years. Although he is no longer council president, he will still serve on the council until his term expires next year. He said he will not seek a fifth term on the council.

“I made a decision that it was time for a change. It’s time for me to move on and give someone else an opportunity,” Dickens said. “My feeling is that because I am taking that position (to not run for another term), it’s important to the council and to the city that I step aside.

“From a transitional standpoint, I believe that if a person has the potential to be on the council again, it would behoove us to have them lead the council for the remainder of this term,” Dickens added. “There is no hidden agenda. It is what it is on the surface. I feel like this is the right thing to do.”

After Dickens stepped down as council president, the council nominated Nichols to replace him by a 3-2 vote. Dickens, Nichols and Councilman Bill Meadows voted for Nichols, and council members Steve Powell and Karyl Rice voted against.

Nichols was the only person nominated for the position during the meeting.

Dickens said Nichols, who currently is serving her first council term, plans to run for re-election to the council next year.

Powell, the president pro tempore, said he was unsure why the council elected a new president immediately after Dickens stepped down.

“The purpose of the president pro tem is to step in and fill the president’s responsibilities if he is, for whatever reason, unable to fulfill them,” Powell said. “My question was ‘Why are we not going through the natural progression. Why, for the lack of a better term, are we going to leapfrog the president pro tem?

Powell said he would have liked to see Dickens serve as president through the end of the term. Powell said he did not agree with Nichols’ election to the board presidency, but he said he “respected the democratic process” in which she was elected.