Staggered terms being considered
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
While the next city council might be making more money for their service, three members could be serving shorter terms of office.
The city council is considering three two-year terms for the next council. The mayor and places one and two will serve four-year terms. Council places three, four and five will be two-year terms for the first election and then four years thereafter.
The goal, according to Councilman Tom Chappell, is to have staggered terms on the council.
"It helps to avoid the clean sweep we have had in the past," Chappell said.
The change means an election for places three, four and five will be held in 2004 and then again in 2006. Each election will cost the city about $25,000.
While staggered terms are popular, the change to district representation is not, at least among some council members.
Currently, city council candidates run at large and do not represent a particular portion of the city.
Councilman Frank Jones said he would prefer the council switch to district representation.
"Then, you represent the people you are supposed to represent – your district," Jones said.
Others on the council, including Mayor Clif Knight, said they did not favor a change to district representation. Knight said he thought it would be unfair if one district is represented by someone who could devote full-time to the council, while another district is not.
However, Knight said he would be in favor of district voting if it would help ensure minority representation on the council. Currently, there are no minorities on the Hartselle City Council.
Any changes to council districting would have to be approved by the U.S. Justice Department and aren't likely to be in place for up-coming elections.