Hoover Council narrowly approves new BOE member

Published 8:38 pm Monday, April 16, 2012

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

HOOVER — The Hoover Board of Education has a new member — but not before some controversy at a Hoover City Council meeting.

The council approved Stephen Presley by a vote of 4-3 at its regularly scheduled meeting April 16.

After Mari Morrison brought a motion to approve Presley, Morrison, Jack Wright, Brian Skelton and Trey Lott voted to approve Presley’s nomination to the board. Gene Smith, Ret. Admiral Jack Natter and John Greene voted against the nomination.

Smith and Greene expressed reservations over the cancellation of a planned special meeting to conduct second interviews with candidates for the Board of Education seat. The meeting was to take place earlier April 16.

After the meeting, Wright said the special meeting was cancelled because no council member had indicated the need for second interviews.

The City Council held initial interviews for the open seat April 12.

Skelton, who seconded the motion to approve Presley, said he felt the process was handled correctly and praised the candidates available for the seat.

“We had a great group of candidates, as always,” said Skelton, who said that conversations after the initial interviews seemed to indicate support for Presley.

Skelton said he thought Smith might have had another preferred candidate.

“You really don’t know what’s going to happen (in a vote) until you get into the council meeting,” Skelton said.

Natter said he voted against approving the motion because he was out of town when the council carried out the initial interviews.

In a telephone interview after the meeting, Smith said Wright told him on April 13 there would be two interviews during the special meeting, and neither of the scheduled interviews were with Presley.

Smith said he then found out April 14 that there would be no interviews.

“How do you know what the votes are without having a meeting?” Smith said. “Obviously Mr. Presley had the votes and I wish him well. This is not about Mr. Presley. I congratulate him and hope he brings a lot to the school board.”