Dadeville's city council meeting gets heated - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Dadeville's city council meeting gets heated

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Citizens and the Dadeville City Council at odds over recent actions taking power from the mayor. Citizens and the Dadeville City Council at odds over recent actions taking power from the mayor.
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DADEVILLE, AL (WSFA) -

The Dadeville City Council meeting was anything but calm Tuesday evening as citizens packed into the meeting demanding answers for the Council's actions.

Many Dadeville citizens are upset at what they see as a power grab. During the last meeting, the council passed an ordinance giving itself the power to appoint police, the fire chief and other positions.  Many residents said they had no idea about the meeting. 

"They're highly irate, it's very clandestine, it's not transparent," one resident said.

Some in the crowd yelled that the Council is ignoring the wishes of the people who just elected Joe Smith as the mayor.  The council vote was held in the last days of the administration of Mike Ingram, who is now the Superintendent of Public Utilities.  Smith defeated Ingram in this year's election.

"We elected a mayor, but they took away his power," one person yelled.

Council members bristled at the implication a "secret meeting" was held to make the changes.

City Clerk Sharon Harrelson pointed out notice for the specially called meeting was posted on Friday, October 26th.  The meeting was held on Monday October 29th. 

The Mayor and Clerk sparred when it came time for the council to consider appointments. 

"Y' all can ask anybody, the Auditor, and they will tell you I am the best city clerk that has ever been in this office," Harrelson said to the crowd.  "And you can yee-hee and ha-ha and make faces or whatever, but I am good at what I do and the Council knows I am good at what I do."

The Council voted to retain Harrelson, but also initially voted to dismiss the fire chief.  That's a move the new mayor and citizens attending were against.  The Council decided to revisit the issue at a later date.

Some council members expressed surprise at the fierce reaction from residents to their vote, and vowed to work together to move the city forward.

"I'd just like to say that what we are doing is for the best," said Council member Frank Goodman.  "We ask for guidance for the best way we can help all of the citizens of Dadeville."  

"We'll get together and we'll work together whether we like it or not," Mayor Smith said.  "If they pass something I don't like, but the majority wants to do it, I'm with them 100%.

One thing the Mayor and Council did agree on is the appointment of a new police chief, Lt. David Barbour.  The Council also changed its meeting dates to the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month.

Copyright 2012  WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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