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Hall resigns as Mayor of Hartselle

Randy Garrison

Hartselle Enquirer

 

After serving three years of his four-year term Hartselle Mayor Don Hall offered his resignation to the Hartselle City Council Friday. The resignation will be effective Nov. 30, 2015, at 11:59 p.m.

With a motion by Councilmen Kenny Thompson and a second by Councilmen Ken Doss, the council in a unanimous decision, accepted the offer of resignation from Hall.

Hall did put a condition on the resignation, that he be granted a leave of absence until the effective date. Hall will continue to draw his $55k annual salary along with a $350 monthly travel allowance for the next three months. He also agreed that he would not exercise the authority of the mayor’s office nor act as mayor of Hartselle, during the leave of absence.

The council also approved Resolution 15-0828, accepting Hall’s resignation.

The resignation was the second offer from Hall, with the first being a request for an unconditional and indefinite leave of absence. The council unanimously denied this request.

If this offer had been accepted Hall would have been able to draw his salary indefinitely during the leave, and there was very

little the council could have done to change this.

Both offers from Hall came after a special meeting was called by Council President Bill Smelser to discuss action the council could take regarding the mayor.

Hall has been absent from the mayor’s office since he attended a council work session Mon. Aug. 24.

As the meeting began Friday afternoon, City Attorney Larry Madison addressed the council regarding decisions they could make regarding the mayor. Madison told the council they had no authority to remove the mayor, nor could they change his compensation package including salary and travel allowance. Only if the mayor was indicted by a grand jury on charges of neglect of duty, corruption, incompetency, or committed a criminal offense, and was convicted he could then be removed from office. He also reminded the council of the time a legal case could take, in terms of the remaining time left on Hall’s term of office.

Hall had been in contact with Madison during the week, and gave his offers to Madison to present to the council today.

Since Hall basically would be a lame duck mayor, accepting his offer to resign would be cost efficient for the council even with the three-month time frame; since the Mayor could take a leave of absence without council approval.

Council President Bill Smelser will take over as Mayor Pro-Tempore until November 30, 2015, then he will fulfill the balance of the term as Mayor.

Kenny Thompson will move into the Council President slot and the council will need to fill Smelser’s council seat.

Hall has been under scrutiny since his DUI arrest last fall and that increased this past week with other alleged actions. The relationship between Hall and the council has been strained for some time as well. All council members have mentioned Hall’s lack of communication with  the council as being a major issue in his role as mayor.

After accepting the resignation Councilmen Tom Chappell mentioned that the employees of the city deserve better from the leadership they had been given and looked for morale to improve immediately.

Councilmen Kenny Thompson hopes the changes today will lead to closure and his thoughts and prayers are with Hall family.

Councilmen Mike Roberson felt the council’s action was fair to everyone. The council has compassion for Hall and this will allow the city to move forward in conducting its business.

Council President and now Interim Mayor Smelser said he had been reluctant to call for action against Hall. He realized this has been a strain for city hall and wants the good employees of Hartselle to get the stability, leadership and communication they deserve.

Smelser also asked that the Hall’s be lifted up in prayer and reminded those in attendance that none of us are above falling.

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