Pelham begins search for new council member

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham officials are looking to have a new City Council member appointed by Feb. 20, and will accept applications for the spot until Jan. 27, council members announced during a Jan. 9 meeting.

Dickens

During the meeting, the council passed a motion to declare Pelham’s Place 2 council seat vacant, and laid out a timeline for collecting applications, interviewing candidates and appointing a new council member.

The meeting came a little more than a week after former Place 2 Councilman Mike Dickens resigned from the council to accept a job as Pelham’s municipal court administrator.

According to state law, Pelham has 60 days from Dickens’ Dec. 30, 2011, resignation date to appoint a new council member to fill the vacancy, meaning the appointment deadline will be Feb. 28. The new council member will serve out the remainder of Dickens’ term, which will expire this year.

Council applicants must be at least 18 years old, a Pelham resident and a registered voter.

Council President Teresa Nichols originally requested the city accept applications until Jan. 20, interview candidates during a Jan. 30 special council meeting and appoint someone by Feb. 6.

However, the council pushed the schedule back at the request of council members Steve Powell and Karyl Rice.

“We don’t want to rush into it when the law says we have time to do it judiciously,” Powell said.

Nichols encouraged applicants to submit a letter of interest, a list of three references and a one-page resumé “highlighting community service.” Candidates can submit their information at City Hall.

After the city collects the resumés, the council will publicly interview each candidate during a Feb. 13 special session before likely voting to appoint a new candidate during its Feb. 20 meeting. At least three of the four current City Council members must vote in favor of appointing the new member.

In other business, the council heard from Allied Waste General Manager Pat George, who attended the meeting after Pelham Mayor Don Murphy said he had received 73 complaints about the company’s trash service since July 1, 2011.

Murphy said the company had not returned the city’s phone calls, and said some residents are confused about their trash and recycling pickup days.

Powell said some residents in the Chandalar subdivision and along Shelby County 11 have complained about their garbage cans being left in the street by the company’s garbage trucks.

“We do have some service issues. We’ve identified some problems with our call center, and we’ve got them resolved,” George said. “We do have some work to do, but we will work with the mayor’s office to get it resolved.”