RANBURNE — Jim Smith is still the mayor of Ranburne but, by action of the Town Council, mostly in name only. The council Monday night passed a series of resolutions stripping the mayor of several municipal responsibilities.
More than 30 people attended the meeting, which had to be held in the senior center to accommodate the crowd.
Animosity and accusations of bullying have been brewing for months between the council, city employees and the mayor.
Councilman Trevor Kribbs introduced the resolutions and in remarks after the meeting, defended them.
“We just think he’s been abusing his powers as mayor right now,” Kribbs said.
“In order to control his power as mayor we going to strip his power of signing checks and other things,” he said.
Asked what message the mayor might get from the resolutions, Kribbs said, “I hope it sends him a signal that the decisions that we can make can move this town forward.”
Kribbs introduced the resolutions — the reason being to "to move Ranburne forward tonight" — and the council unanimously passed them:
— To change the locks on the doors on the city clerk’s office and a side room. There’s to be two sets of keys to those spaces, with one set to reside with the city clerk and the other to be locked in a secure location. The mayor will not be allowed in the city clerk’s office unless the city clerk, Pamela Norton, is present.
— To have Ranburne police Chief Steve Tucker take the car formerly used by the mayor to an auto repair shop for an estimate of interior damages while it was in the mayor’s possession.
According to Kribbs, a city employee, Amanda Adams, who used the car to deliver meals to senior residents, was basically forced to drive the vehicle which contained “tons” of dog dander left by the mayor’s dog.
Smith countered that when he originally picked it up two years ago it contained rat nests and the interior was wet. He said he has had much work done to the car on account of problems employees said needed to be fixed.
The mayor also said the city employees had lost the keys to the car, prompting a vocal objection during the meeting from Amanda’s husband, Shane Adams, who was seated in the audience. He was removed from the room by the police chief on orders from the mayor.
“Take him out, chief. Someone lost the keys,” Smith said.
Regarding canine passengers, Smith said, “As far as I know there has not been any dogs in the car other than maybe for 30 seconds. When the dog jumped in I put it out.”
He said damage to the interior of the car had been done by rats.
— To remove the mayor as a authorizing signature to secure contracts with the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission Area Agency on Aging.
Smith said council members did not have the authority to remove him from that, but Kribbs said they did.
— To discontinue immediately paying for the mayor’s cell phone and IPad. Both devices have to be turned back in to the town.
— To remove the mayor from signing checks and to remove his authorized signature from all deposits, accounts and certificates of deposits. From this point forward a council member and the city clerk’s signature will be required, according to the resolution. The mayor pointed out that a third person is needed to sign checks. Upon learning this, the council approved Councilman Dennis Anglin as the required third person required to sign checks if needed.
Kribbs also asked Smith to resign as mayor for the betterment of the town of Ranburne. Smith replied he would resign if several councilmen would resign and alleging they mismanaged money in 2003.