Fairhope celebrated the election of the first woman Mayor of Fairhope with a fantastic swearing in ceremony. Hundreds attended and the atmosphere was positive. Mayor Wilson addressed the attendees and promised to represent them to the best of her abilities. She was humble and appreciated the trust the citizens had in her ability.
Mayor Kant did not attend the ceremony. Also, he never cooperated with the transition of power or city information nor did he attend any pre-inauguration functions. This will be his legacy.
Immediately after Karin’s swearing in was the first official meeting of the city and its transfer of power, an organization meeting with the Mayor and New Council. The printed agenda had 30 items with the Mayor’s comments being number 30; city council Presiding officer was 3rd. The Mayor had not one comment on any of the 27 agenda items. When it came down to the nomination for the AMEA, Alabama Municipal Electric Authority, which has only 10 months left on a three term, the Mayor requested the council hold over the decision for further discussion. She did not insist on any nomination, just politely as our Mayor asked for consideration of the council. The newly elected council President Mr. Burrell nominated himself, without any vote, in a previous work session for the AMEA position. He denied the mayor’s polite request and asked the council to vote on the matter without any consideration of the Mayor. The council voted 4-0 in support of Mr. Burrell’s self appointment. Conyers was absent.
From swearing in to the organizational meeting was one hour. In that one hour the pledge of the new council and council president to work with the Mayor evaporated and morphed into a power struggle.
Is this what we voted for?
So what’s happening?
Along with the Mayor, the citizens of Fairhope elected three new councilmen, Mr. Conyers, Mr. Brown and Mr. Robinson. They were all elected in part on the failure of the last administration. The past 4 years, with the previous council was so bad that the community finally woke up to the fact that we cannot govern our city in such a manner. These three councilmen need to understand this and that we do not wish to repeat the same mistakes. The last thing they need to do is willingly piggyback decisions of Mr. Burrell without any consideration of the Mayor. In fact, the last person who should have been put on the AMEA board was Mr. Burrell, and that is a decision he should have made.
The past council was presided over by Mr. Burrell with Mayor Kant at the helm. In four years, Mr. Burrell voted the way Mayor Kant wanted and supported his every move. Only once did he oppose the Mayor and that was the Fly Creek Apartment issue, in which he had no choice. Jack had to oppose the apartments because it was in his neighborhood. That was the singular vote that saved him from being voted out of office, along with the fact that his opponent was an inexperienced “straw candidate” selected by Mayor Kant. Mr. Burrell became a fill in the blank candidate and escaped the accountability of his previous term, so far.
Prior to the election Mr. Burrell considered running for Mayor. However, Mayor Kant convinced him that if he would wait four years he would support him for Mayor. Mr. Burrell agreed, as he personally feared Mayor Kant, and did not believe he could defeat him. He was right. Mayor Wilson was also approached by surrogates of the Mayor with the same offer; she did not drink the Kool-aid.
The night of the swearing in ceremony two city employees came to me independently and said there were rumblings among city employees that some employees were determined to undermine Mayor Wilson and secretly report to Mayor Kant. Those employees, if found out, should be immediately fired.
Is Mr. Burrell a surrogate of Mayor Kant? Through his actions Burrell has certainly put a target on his back. let’s pray the new councilmen keep their distance and don’t drink the Kool aid until it is tested.
DON’T THROW ROCKS IF YOU LIVE IN A GLASS HOUSE
In the coming months details of the last administration will be scrutinized and some of the good ole boy deals will come to light. The New council members were elected for change, as was the Mayor; they pledged cooperation with the Mayor not with the status quo voted out.
NOVEMBER 14th is the first city council meeting of the new administration. SHOW UP. Phone fax e-mail or face book your councilmen that we expect them to represent us and that we expect cooperation with the Mayor. That is what we voted for. We elected them. Now we must support them fully so they are not sucked into a power vacuum created by those already defeated.
Mayor Karin Wilson
Kevin G. Boone, City Council
Jay Robinson, City Council
Jack Burrell, Council President
Robert Brown, City Council
Jimmy Conyers, City Council
SHOW UP AND LET THE COUNCIL KNOW HOW YOU FEEL AND WHAT YOU EXPECT A POWER STRUGGLE
IS NOT WHAT WE NEED>
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS NOV.14th 6:00PM
Francis Paul Ripp