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Hartselle to accept applications for spot on board of education

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — The City Council has agreed to accept applications for Jennifer Sittason's position on the Board of Education.

But two council members said it's unlikely that they will appoint anybody but Sittason.

"It will take somebody very special for me to change my vote," Council President Kenny Thompson said before Tuesday's council meeting.

"I'm probably going to go along with her anyway," Councilman Samie Wiley said about Sittason.

The council appointed Sittason in 2005 to serve the remainder of Ronnie Abercrombie's term after he resigned. The term expires in June, but state law requires the council to make the appointment in April.

Sittason said Monday that she will apply to be reappointed.At one point during the discussion, the council talked about reappointing Sittason without accepting applications.

"My theory is that she hasn't served long and she is chairman of the new high school committee," Mayor Dwight Tankersley said.

Tankersley does not vote. Councilman Bill Smelser said he will not vote on Sittason because they are distant cousins.

Councilman Mark Mizell said he will not vote because he doesn't know whether he can legally appoint people to the board because of a possible conflict of interest. He owns a sporting goods store that may bid on school projects. He said he is waiting on an opinion from the attorney general.

With Smelser and Mizell not voting, this means the decisive vote on Sittason could come from Councilman Bill Drake. Without giving a reason, Drake, who lobbied for Dr. James Joy, opposed appointing Bruyne Rollins to the board last month.

Mizell said it's wrong to give people "false hope" if the council is going to reappoint the incumbent. During Monday's work session, he suggested that the council vote on the incumbent before accepting applications.

"If we believe the person is doing a good job, we should reappoint them," he said.

"We need to accept applications and give people an opportunity to apply," Thompson said.

The council majority agreed. If more than Sittason apply, the city will probably interview at the first council meeting in April, Thompson said.

Hartselle will accept applications through March 30 at 4 p.m. at City Hall.

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