Mayor absent from city

Mayor Don Hall will be absent from the City of Hartselle to address “personal issues” for an undetermined period of time after he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence Friday night on I-65 in Limestone County.

Hartselle City Attorney Larry Madison made the announcement Monday night during a scheduled work session at city hall. Madison could not confirm if Hall is seeking treatment, but he said he would be away from the City of Hartselle for at least 14 days.

“What I am authorized to tell you is that he will be absent from the City of Hartselle for a period of time,” Madison said. “He will be unable to fulfill his duties as mayor while addressing personal issues.”

Council President Bill Smelser, who is now the acting mayor in Hall’s absence, said Hall has not made up his mind whether he will step down as mayor.

“Don is still the Mayor of Hartselle,” Smelser said. “He is the duly elected mayor.”

Smelser said he talked with Hall shortly after being released from jail Saturday morning. He said Hall said he was considering resigning at Tuesday’s regular meeting, but Smelser said he wanted him to think about it with a clear mind before he made any decision.

“I told him, “I love you, and I’ll support you on whatever decision you make,’” Smelser said. “I told him that I wanted him to talk with Debbie about it, pray about it and seek any help that he needs before he makes that decision.”

Council Pro Tempore Kenny Thompson said he was shocked by the news.

“I’m not going to be the one who casts the first stone,” Thompson said. “We’re all guilty of something. It’s been a stressful time for Don and I want to support him any way that I can.”

Madison said Thompson will serve as Council President while Hall is absent. In the event Smelser is absent or unable to act, Thompson will have the power and authority of the Mayor during the time that Smelser is absent or unable to exercise that power and authority.

Hall was charged with driving under the influence during a traffic stop by Alabama State Troopers Friday night on I-65.

Trooper spokesman Curtis Summerville said in a statement that a trooper conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle for driving erratically on Interstate 65 in Limestone County after several reports from the public just after 7 p.m. Fri., Sept. 5.

“Upon further investigation, the Trooper arrested driver Donald Edward Hall for DUI,” Summerville said. “Hall was placed in the Limestone County Jail. Nothing further is available.”

Limestone County said he was released Saturday morning after posting bond. No court date was set as of Saturday morning.

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