JACKSONVILLE — After the resignation of Councilman Jimmy Harrell, the Jacksonville City Council will move swiftly to find someone to fill his vacancy, according to information presented at the council's meeting Monday night.
The council will seek résumés from prospective candidates until June 18, then review qualifications of applicants, make nominations and vote to approve a new member during the council's next work session and meeting on June 24.
The council voted unanimously to approve Harrell's resignation Monday night. Harrell will be moving to Athens after accepting another position with the Alabama State Troopers.
"I hate to leave before my term is out, but this was just something my family couldn't turn down," Harrell said. “I appreciate all the citizens of Jacksonville and all the faith they have put in me. I think the brightest days for Jacksonville are ahead.”
Harrell was elected in 2016, but took office a little early when he was appointed the day after the runoff election to fill out the term of former Councilman Mark Jones. Harrell was scheduled to remain in office until 2020.
“I think that we need to say that this is with regrets,” Council President Sandra Sudduth said after the vote to accept Harrell’s resignation. “We hate to accept it.”
The council has 60 days to select a replacement starting at the next meeting on June 24. The new council member can serve until elections take place in 2020.
"My prayers are that we find good people," Councilman Tony Taylor said. “I know there are a lot of good people in Jacksonville that could come in and step up. It will be difficult to fill Jimmy’s shoes, but I think there are some out there who are qualified.”
In other business, the council:
- Authorized Mayor Johnny Smith to sign an annual agreement with Gadsden State Community College, which allows emergency medicine students to gain field experience within the city’s public safety departments.
- Approved reclassifying firefighter Craig Hall to firefighter/paramedic and Grayson Hunter Hale to meter reader/utility service worker.
- Approved the resignation of Brandon Connell, a part-time firefighter/paramedic.
- Heard from Don Killingsworth, Jacksonville State University’s chief external affairs officer, about the need for the city and university to create a “town and gown” committee that would help discuss relations between the two.