Columbiana council votes 4-2 to appoint new clerk
By JAN GRIFFEY/Editor
COLUMBIANA — The Columbiana City Council on Tuesday evening approved the appointment of Mark Frey as Columbiana city clerk and treasurer with a 4-2 vote.
The move ended the service of City Clerk Gina Antolini, who was appointed in November 2006 by the city council under the administration of then-mayor Allan Lowe.
Antolini, who was seated in the first row in the council chambers during the meeting, said afterward she had no comment on the advice of her attorney.
Columbiana Mayor Dr. Stancil Handley asked the council to approve Frey’s appointment as city clerk and treasurer.
He said Frey is a businessman who is “computer savvy… gets along with people and is a good problem solver.”
Councilmember Ouida Mayfield moved to approve Frey’s appointment and Councilmember Leslie Whiting seconded the motion.
Mayfield spoke in favor of Frey’s appointment, saying she knows him as an interested member of the city’s Merchants and Professionals group and as a faithful member of his church.
Councilmember Ricky Ruston said he, too, knows Frey as a person of good character, but questioned whether Frey possesses the financial knowledge to do the work required of the city treasurer.
“I couldn’t do it and I’ve been in banking for 10 years,” Ruston said.
Handley said Frey is capable of learning the position and that the city has safeguards in place, such as auditors and attorneys to help guide city personnel.
Ruston countered that the most important aspect of the combined city clerk and treasurer’s job is managing the city’s finances and the city should find someone with those skills.
“The financial piece is a big one for me,” Ruston said.
Councilmember Leslie Whiting said he had met with Frey, as well as the city’s auditor.
“I’ve prayed hard about this. I’ve dug a little deeper probably than most and what I’ve come up with is we need a team player,” Whiting said. “There’s lots happening in city hall that you don’t know. I’m just putting it out there plain. People who come to work here shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells. Those who deal with the city shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells.”
Mayfield asked for a vote on her motion. She, Whiting, Councilmember Kim King and Handley voted in favor of Frey’s appointment. Ruston and Councilmember Barbara Moore, who is Antolini’s mother, voted against the appointment.