Colony Council meeting canceled after two members walk out

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Colony’s brief meeting opened with multiple council members’ seats empty Tuesday afternoon. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

COLONY, Ala. – The Colony Town Council on Tuesday afternoon cut its proceedings short after members Ethel Alexander and Samuel Ashford walked out ahead of the pre-meeting work session, leaving the council unable to conduct business without a quorum. Alexander, Ashford and former member Eric Carwell–who resigned at the last council meeting–had often been pitted against Mayor Curtis Johnson and Councilwomen Mary Parker and Jasmine Cole since the new council was seated last November. With Carwell’s departure, Alexander and Ashford could no longer balance votes by the other three members. 

The early exit of Alexander and Ashford came after Alexander read a handwritten document distributed to the council by Birmingham attorney Louis Willie, who was at the meeting and was the subject of debate last November after he came to a council meeting at Mayor Johnson’s request to support Johnson’s call for the dismissal of then Town Clerk Patricia Ponder.  

Ponder was not dismissed at that time, though she was dismissed in April, after which the council rescinded her dismissal in early May over questions about the wording of her dismissal. She did not return to work. Gwendolyn Purifoy and Margaret Dimbo were approved in a special meeting on April 29 to fill the Clerk’s position on a volunteer basis until a regular clerk can be appointed. 

Willie’s note was a fairly standard job description for a municipal attorney, with a proposed fee schedule: 

City Attorney 

  1. Attend each regularly scheduled meeting 
  1. Provide input as needed during each meeting 
  1. Respond to the Mayor and each Council Person with opinions or research on issues facing the Township 
  1. Draft letters, ordinances, etc. for the Township, or review documents prepared by others 
  1. Review or draft contracts for business dealings of the Township 
  1. Review terms of any grant to insure compliance 

The fee for the above is a monthly payment of $600.00 

Involvement in any litigation, or the supervision of outside counsel, will incur additional fees. 

The hiring of an attorney was not on the meeting agenda, which did include: 

  • Renewal of the town’s insurance through the Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation, in the amount of $13,866 to be paid in $4,400.80 payments over the next three months 
  • A resolution to change the council work session start time 

Cole announced that she is planning to hold “Colony Day” on August 7. The event is still in planning, but she said that families will be invited to bring their tents and grills for a picnic. 

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