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Staggered terms requires approval from legislature

By Staff
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
A plan to have staggered terms for Hartselle City Council members will have to go to the state legislature for its approval.
City Attorney Larry Madison said he is preparing a resolution for the Morgan County Legislative Delegation to change the election cycle for the city council. The resolution should be ready for the delegation when the Legislature reconvenes in February 2004, but there are no assurances it will be complete in time for the August 2004 council elections.
The plan was first suggested by Councilman Tom Chappell. Under Chappell's plan, places one and two, as well as the mayor's job, would be four-year terms following the next election. The other three council places – three, four and five – would be for two year terms to expire in 2006. In 2006, another election for those three seats would be held, this time for four year posts. The result, Chappell said, would be staggered terms of office with no more than half the council up for reelection at any one time.
Chappell said he hopes the change would provide some continuity on the council.
"History hasn't been kind to us here. It's been a long time since we've had more than one multi-term elected official and that's not good for the city," Chappell said.
The drawback, Chappell said, would be the expense involved with the extra election. Each election will cost the city about $25,000.
Madison said if the change is approved, the city would be an anomaly in the state.
"Very few cities in Alabama have staggered terms," he said.