Vowell has new SF seat

Vowell has new SF seat

Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 9:02 pm

By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
Jeff Vowell is back in South Fulton city government.
But he’s sitting in a different seat.
Vowell — the city’s former city manager — was appointed Thursday evening by the South Fulton City Commission to fill the vacant Ward 4 seat on the commission.
The vacancy was created in March by the resignation of Keith Curlin, who stepped down from the commission after submitting his resumé for the South Fulton city manager’s position.
The commission voted unanimously April 12 to hire Debra Craig of Union City as the new city manager. She began work May 2.
Curlin appeared before the city commission at its April 21 meeting to request that he be considered for appointment to the commission seat he vacated. He claimed he was informed by South Fulton Mayor David Crocker that he was “required” to resign from the elected position in order to apply for the job.
Crocker had indicated at the March commission meeting that the Municipal Technical Advisory Service had recommended Curlin resign from the commission since he was applying for the city manager’s job, but Curlin said he interpreted a conversation with the mayor as meaning that he needed to resign. Crocker said MTAS suggested the resignation, but the decision was Curlin’s to make and it was not forced.
The appointment of someone to fill the Ward 4 vacancy was the only item of business on the commission’s agenda during its April meeting, but the decision was postponed after commissioners deadlocked on voting. Last month, commissioner Tony Perry nominated Curlin, while Vice Mayor Charles Moody nominated Vowell and Crocker nominated Scott Ellegood, whom he identified as the only person who approached him with interest in the position. No one received a required three-vote majority to win appointment, with Curlin and Ellegood each getting one vote and Vowell two votes.
Ironically, the Ward 4 appointment was also the only item of business listed on the commission’s agenda again Thursday evening.
Commissioner Thomas Pettigrew nominated Vowell and Crocker again nominated Ellegood. Vowell won the appointment by a 3-1 vote, with Moody, Perry and Pettigrew all voting in his favor and Crocker casting the dissenting vote.
There was some applause from the audience as Vowell was administered the oath of office and took his seat at the commission table. He remarked about being in “a different seat” and told Mrs. Craig he is happy to have her on the job and looks forward to working with her.
“You’re running the ship,” he said.
Vowell served as South Fulton’s city manager for three years before he resigned in December to accept a position with Commercial Bank and Trust’s Union City operations. Crocker served as interim city manager for about four months until a successor was hired.
In other action during Thursday evening’s brief meeting, which was opened with prayer led by resident and minister Ed Cassetty and with the Pledge of Allegiance, the commission:
• Heard comments from Cassetty and resident Joe Glasgow in regard to city operations and a recent controversy that erupted over the March firing of the city’s public works director and three public works employees.
Cassetty read from a prepared statement in which he encouraged city leaders to look at the system governing such a matter as the removal of any city employee. He said the future of any city employee and their family should not belong solely to one individual but rather to a review board or committee.
Glasgow responded to an exchange of words he had with Crocker in the hallway outside the meeting room after last month’s commission meeting. He alleged Crocker questioned what he had ever done for the city and he responded by outlining several things he had done on the city’s behalf in recent years.
• Heard concerns from resident Dorothy Jackson about unkempt property at the end of Bates and Enterprise streets.
• Was informed advertisements have been placed in publications in the search for a new public works director.
• Learned from Mrs. Craig that she has been working with the city’s accountant and has started the process for preparing the budget for the next fiscal year. Budget workshops should begin next month.
• Was informed by Perry that a Neighborhood Watch meeting has been set for June 5 at 3 p.m. at the Harvey O. Vick Community Room at the municipal complex.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 5.20.11

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