Host of candidates up for Demopolis BOE appointment

A bevy of nominees surfaced Thursday for the vacant seat on Demopolis’ Board of Education, with potentially more names to come.

The vacancy was created when Ronnie O’Neal announced that he did not wish to be re-appointed by the city council when his term expired April 1. At Thursday’s council meeting, Gary Brown, Lucy Chu, Hunter Compton, Lee Pritchett, Chuck Smith and Chris Stewart were all placed into consideration. Council member Charles Jones Jr. nominated Compton, while Harris Nelson nominated Brown and Chu and Mayor Mike Grayson submitted Pritchett, Smith and Stewart.

Nominations were kept open until next meeting at the request of councilman Nathan Hardy.

Also Thursday, the council heard a request from attorney Alex Braswell, representing Monica Keeley, that the $400 penalty for late payment of her business license be waived. “It was late by four days and she did not get the notice,” Braswell told the council. “This is an unusual step, and I realize that some businesses you can’t be lenient with because they are habitually late. But that’s not the case here.”

Braswell said Keeley has paid the license on time in past years.

The council did not respond to Braswell’s request. Later in the meeting, Jones questioned why the council “blew off” the request, but Grayson did not respond. After the meeting, the mayor said the matter is under consideration.

In other matters Thursday, the council:

  • Discussed drainage problems at 820 E. Decatur, but took no action. Ruthie Williams, a resident of the area, expressed concern at the last council meeting. Grayson indicated that grant funds could be used to help alleviate the situation, and Jones countered that the city owns some 80 feet of culvert that could be used to help immediately without having to go through the grant application process.
  • Heard city attorney Bill Poole report that he is working on 19 dilapidated properties within the city and Police Officer Cody Key is investigating another 40 lots.
  • Heard Grayson read a portion of a letter from the Selma Police Department, thanking the Demopolis Police Department for assisting with security for the festivities in Selma on March 7-8. The letter said the officers were “professional and dutiful.”