The Ranburne Town Council passed a resolution Tuesday night asking the state’s attorney general whether the mayor must repay funds spent without council approval. The resolution also asks if the mayor can be compelled to resign if he doesn’t repay the money.
Ranburne Mayor Jim Smith said by phone Wednesday that the vote approving the resolution was 4-2, however, one of the council members, Mitzi Smith, wanted to rescind her vote after the meeting but “was not permitted to do so.” According to the mayor the resolution needed four votes for approval and if Councilwoman Smith had rescinded her vote, the resolution would not have passed.
The council’s resolution cites section 11-43-56 of the Alabama Code to make its argument: “Except as otherwise provided in this title, the council shall have the management and control of the finances and all of the property, real and personal, belonging to the city or town.”
Efforts to speak with Councilman Trevor Kribbs were unsuccessful; in a text message Wednesday Kribbs said he’d been ill.
Last month the council approved a resolution detailing $9,865 that it said the mayor spent without the body’s approval. The resolution requested the mayor refund the expenses or resign.
The mayor said that all of the expenses were sent by the council to the attorney general, including the use of city funds the mayor spent to hire his wife at the town’s senior center and the purchase of diesel fuel, allegedly for the mayor’s tractor — which he has said he doesn’t own. He said the diesel fuel was instead for a church van he borrowed to take the town’s senior citizens on trip.
“Even though they admitted that some of the things in there were going to be thrown out by the attorney general they went ahead and sent it the way it was,” the mayor said.
Pamela Thompson, the Ranburne town clerk, said Wednesday she told the mayor earlier in the day that she could do nothing about rescinding the vote and it would be left up to the council members to address.
Heflin City Clerk Shane Smith, who’s also president of the Alabama Association of Municipal Clerks and Administrators, said that once a resolution is passed, an individual vote can’t be rescinded. However, another resolution could be voted on so that the council member, Mitzi Smith, could vote “no.”
According to the Heflin city clerk, the original resolution would have to be rescinded by the council.
“I don’t see how they can come back and rescind the vote,” Shane Smith said.