Demopolis council again tests hospital board nominee process

Uncertainty surrounding the appointment of a new hospital board member surfaced again at Thursday night’s Demopolis City Council meeting.

Mayor Mike Grayson referenced a letter from Tombigbee Healthcare Authority CEO/Administrator Art Evans, in which three names were submitted to the city council. The letter cited the Healthcare Authorities Act, which allows a hospital board to submit three names for a vacant seat, and restricts the city council’s choice to those three names.

The council, however, added two more names and will choose from the five at its next meeting.

The hospital board’s three nominees are Hunter Compton, Michael Patterson and Kate Randall. The city council nominated Elizabeth Etheridge and Riley Wells.

The same issue of who may nominate hospital board members arose last year when two positions were open for appointment. At that time, the city challenged the process, citing the precedent that the hospital board had always allowed the council to come up with its own list of names. The two entities compromised and the city chose one person from the hospital board’s list and the hospital board chose one of the city’s candidates.

The current opening came about with the resignation of Jim Grantham.

Thursday’s vote to add the two names was 5-1, with Cleveland Cole dissenting. “I think we need to support the hospital and choose from their list,” Cole said.

In other matters, the council voted to seek a $495,000 Community Development Block Grant to improve drainage in the Brickyard Area. The total includes a 10% city match.

Also, the council:

  • Voted to seek a meeting with ALDOT officials to discuss options for the Jackson Street Bridge replacement.
  • Approved a $647 bid from Anderson Plumbing, Heating and Electric to move a weather head at U.S. 80 and E. Pettus to make room for the placement of fiber optic wiring.
  • Received a proposed street resurfacing list for review and discussion at a later date.
  • Moved the next council meeting to June 16 at 5:15. A work session addressing the city’s financial audit will be held at 4 p.m. that day at Rooster Hall.
  • Learned that the Sunday liquor sales bill has passed the Senate and is on its way to the governor for signature.
  • Approved public assembly requests for the Songwriter’s Festival July 3, Freedom on the River July 4 and the New Quarter Reunion on July 11.