Colony Councilman resigns, council rescinds Town Clerk’s dismissal

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Mayor Curtis Johnson (right) looks on as Councilman Eric Carwell presents his letter of resignation Tuesday afternoon. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

COLONY, Ala. – Colony’s Town Council meeting Tuesday afternoon was a busy one with multiple items on the agenda, and a big piece of news that was not. During the committee reports, Finance Committee Chair Eric Carwell offered no report, but instead submitted his resignation to the council. 

Said Carwell, “This comes with a lot of soul-searching and consideration. I just think it would be in my best interest to resign from the council.” 

Carwell thanked the council and audience for the opportunity he had to serve. He said later that family and other personal considerations needed his attention, and that town business did not allow him the time he needed. 

Johnson said after the meetings that the council will take applications for someone to replace Carwell. 

Dismissed Town Clerk un-dismissed 

The council split over the last agenda item: a proposed reconsideration of the April dismissal of Town Clerk Patricia Ponder. After a somewhat contentious discussion involving both council members and members of the audience, the council voted in favor of “reconsidering” Ponder’s dismissal; Mayor Curtis Johnson, Jasmine Cole and Mary Parker voted in favor, while Ethel Alexander and Samuel Ashford voted against. 

Alexander brought the motion to “dismiss without prejudice” at the council’s last regular meeting April 27. Tuesday’s debate centered on her use of the phrase “without prejudice,” which council members did not seem to understand, and Alexander declined to explain, advising them instead to “Look it up.” 

In legal terms, a dismissal “without prejudice” allows the dismissed party to retain certain rights and enables the dismissing party to revoke the dismissal at a later time. Had the dismissal been “with prejudice,” it would be irrevocable. 

Asked why she moved for Ponder’s dismissal, Alexander pointed to ongoing conflict between the former clerk and Mayor Johnson, noting that Johnson had sent a letter of dismissal-without council approval-and verbally told Ponder to leave. She also said that supporters of Johnson who attended meetings had been “degrading her, as far as her jobwhen she should work, how long she should work. It’s just been a lot of different things, and because I felt like it was enough.” 

After the last regular meeting, Alexander told The Tribune that she had brought the motion after talking with Ponder beforehand. 

Johnson acknowledged during the meeting that he had hoped to replace Ponder with another person, but that the person he had in mind has taken another job and is no longer available. Asked after the meeting if the reconsideration of Ponder’s dismissal meant that she had her job back, he replied, “No.”   

The council voted to post an advertisement for a new town clerk. 

Other council business 

The council voted to: 

  •  Post an advertisement for a supervisor/caretaker to open the community center Sunday afternoons from 2:30 6 p.m. at $30 per day. 
  • Rent a T3 buffing machine to buff the gym floor before May 28, and to buff floors at the Educational Complex. 
  • Replace a broken window at the gym before May 28. 

The Colony Town Council meets at 5 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at Colony Town Hall. The public is invited to attend. 

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com