Alabaster seeks AG opinion on clerk, treasurer positions

Published 9:53 pm Wednesday, November 28, 2012

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Alabaster City Council has requested an opinion from Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange before deciding if the city will separate its clerk and treasurer positions, council members said during a Nov. 28 work session.

During the work session, Alabaster City Attorney Jeff Brumlow said the city requested the attorney general clarify the process the city should follow if it decides to split the positions, and to clarify who would have the authority to fill the positions if they are split.

Currently, Alabaster’s city clerk and treasurer positions are filled by one city employee.

“Really, the basic question is who has the authority to split those positions? What is the correct procedure to split them?” Brumlow said, noting the city requested the opinion a few days before Thanksgiving Day.

Brumlow said state statutes and Alabaster’s civil service law are unclear if the mayor would have the authority to hire a new treasurer to serve as a city employee, or if the City Council would have the authority to appoint someone to the position on a term-by-term basis.

Alabaster likely will receive the attorney general’s opinion in the next several weeks, Brumlow said.

The discussion came about a month after Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon requested the council split the two positions and look into hiring a certified public accountant to serve as the city’s treasurer and chief financial officer.

“It’s one of those things that needs to be done. I’m questioning why a $30 million corporation doesn’t feel it’s important to have an accountant on staff,” Handlon said of the city. “The job and responsibility is so big that it needs to be split.”

“I think you should do what is best for the city,” said Alabaster’s current City Clerk and Treasurer Marsha Massey.

Handlon and the City Council members praised Massey’s service to the city.

“You do a great job, and we value everything you do,” said Ward 1 Councilwoman Sophie Martin. “If we move forward with this, I want to help take a load off you.”

Handlon said Alabaster currently has a job description for a city finance director on the books, but said the position is currently vacant. Council President Scott Brakefield said the city will review the finance director job description and the attorney general’s opinion during a future work session.