More than a dozen vying for vacant Madison Co. commission seat

More than a dozen vying for vacant Madison Co. commission seat
(Source: WAFF)
(Source: WAFF)
Former Commissioner Bob Harrison (Source: WAFF)
Former Commissioner Bob Harrison (Source: WAFF)

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - It was a tough day for the Madison County Commission Wednesday as they met for the first time since losing one of their own.

The passing of Bob Harrison continues to have an impact, and commissioners revealed how they're working to honor his legacy as well as what's next for his spot on the commission.

Fellow commissioners say they know they need to keep pushing forward to do the business of the county and they provided an update on how the sad vacancy in the District 6 seat will be filled.

They started their meeting Wednesday morning with a prayer for Harrison, who recently passed away after a battle with cancer and thanked him for his service.

For Commissioner Phil Vandiver, it was hard to sit next to Harrison's empty chair as they met for the first time since he was laid to rest.

"He was a great statesman for Madison County and his legacy will be long held here. I enjoyed sitting by Bob and we'd have fun and laugh. He'd come up with different ideas and look at things differently. It's just a great loss for Madison County to lose Commissioner Bob Harrison," Vandiver said.

Harrison's replacement will be appointed by Gov. Kay Ivey. More than a dozen people are seeking the spot.

"They're accepting letters from people that are seeking to potentially be appointed to the seat," said Commission Chairman Dale W. Strong. "It's critical that these next two days, anyone that desires to be appointed, to submit their resume to the governor's office. In the past, she's interviewed several people, and I think that's the process that will be used this time. They'll reduce it to two or three. The governor will move from there."

Officials say there's no deadline for the governor to make the appointment to the District 6 seat, but they expect it to happen in the coming weeks.

"It's tough what has gone on in the last couple weeks with the loss of Commissioner Harrison. But we understand that we have to move forward. The governor understands that so I would assume an appointment would be made around the first of the year," Strong said. "We're looking for another teammate and another partner here."

If the governor makes the appointment after Jan. 9, that person will serve the remainder of the term and be up for election in 2020.

If she makes the appointment before then, the person would serve only until the next general election unless they're re-elected.

As far as the manner in which the commission will function in the absence of a District 6 commissioner, it doesn't change much, according to county officials.

The quorum is still the majority of the members of the commission, so a quorum would still be four. The chairman would vote, as he has in the past, in the event of a tie. So there's no change in the functionality of the commission, or the way matters are presented to them or how those matters will be approved by the commission.

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