Colony hires clerk, swears in new councilman, sets new meeting time

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New Colony councilman Jerrold Flanigan takes his oath of office from new town clerk Gwendolyn Purifoy Tuesday evening. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

COLONY, Ala. – The Town of Colony filled empty seats Tuesday evening by electing a new councilman, clerk and community center attendant. New Town Clerk Gwendolyn Purifoy, who has served as clerk in two previous administrations, performed her first official act by swearing in Jerrold Flanigan to fill the council seat vacated by Samuel Ashford at the last meeting.

Flanigan’s election by the council went smoothly, while Councilwoman Ethel Alexander requested permission to question Purifoy before casting her vote. After a brief discussion, Alexander’s hesitancy to vote was treated as abstention, since Purifoy already had enough votes from other council members to be hired.

The council also voted to hire Xavier Malcom to open and oversee youth activities at the town’s community center from 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Sundays.

The council added Michael Johnson, voted onto the council at the last meeting, to the list of authorized check signers for the town. Johnson took charge of the council’s finance committee following the resignation of Eric Carwell. Colony’s authorized check signers are Johnson as finance chairman, Mayor Curtis Johnson and Purifoy as clerk.

The question of reimbursement of travel expenses came to the table after Alexander, who is Colony’s mayor pro tem, submitted a request following her trip to a conference in Tuskegee. Mayor Johnson said since the town has a vehicle, it should not reimburse for mileage of personal vehicles, to which Alexander responded that she had not submitted for reimbursement of mileage, but for the cost of a hotel room. Councilman Michael Johnson noted that the expense had not been pre-approved by the council, and the council passed a resolution refusing reimbursement for any council member’s expenditures not approved beforehand by the council.

Summer feeding program 

The council discussed issues related to the summer parks and recreation program and Carpenter’s Cabinet “Grab-N-Go” summer feeding program, following a recent decision by Councilwoman Jasmine Cole to have children eat the carry-out meals at the education complex that houses the food pantry. The food pantry leases space in the complex but has no ties to the town government.

Interim clerk Margaret Dimbo said that she had talked to the Food Bank of North Alabama, which informed her that “grab-n-go” meals are not to be eaten at the same address as the distributor of the meals. The Tribune confirmed this earlier in the day by phone with Kim Lawkis of the Alabama Food Bank Association, which administers the Colony Carpenter’s Cabinet summer program.

Cole said that the parks and recreation program will supply its own food for children through the remainder of the summer, and Dimbo said that the town would apply to become a meal distributor next year.

Lawkis told The Tribune on Monday that the pantry’s designation from “grab-n-go” to onsite consumption could be changed simply by “two clicks with a mouse” if the pantry director submitted a request. Former town clerk Patricia Ponder, who manages the pantry, said that she has not heard from anyone in the town government about its plans.

Ponder wrote by email, “I have not had any correspondence or conversation with Mayor Johnson or Councilmember Cole.  I cannot make any changes before hearing the town’s proposal.”

Council meeting times changed

The council voted to change its meeting time from 5 p.m. for the work session followed immediately by the regular meeting, moving the work session time to 5:40 p.m. and regular meeting to 6 p.m. The meetings will continue on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. The public is invited to attend.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com