Melissa Garris

Melissa Garris

SYLACAUGA -- The City Council during its meeting Tuesday evening voted to reappoint Melissa Garris to the city Board of Education.

Councilman Donnie Blackmon nominated Garris. Councilwoman Tiffany Nix nominated retired teacher Greg Bailey, and Councilman Dallas Davenport nominated former Councilman Joe Hogan.

The nominations were closed, and council President Lee Perryman asked for a vote on the first nominee, Garris. Blackmon and Councilman Ashton Fowler cast their vote for Garris. Nix and Davenport voted no.

Perryman began to proceed to the second nominee, Bailey, thinking there was no majority for Garris. Then he realized he had made a procedural mistake because he had not cast his vote.

He then requested the first nominee be voted on again. Perryman voted in favor of reappointing Garris, giving her enough votes for a second term.

Garris will serve a five-year term on the BOE ending April 2023.

After the council meeting, Garris said she was grateful to the council for reappointing her. She was previously appointed to the board seat in 2013.

During her interview with the council, Garris said what she liked the most about serving on the board was “having a voice.” She said she liked being a representative for education and working to make improvements for students.

Garris told the council the hardest part of being a BOE member was the discipline hearings for students. “It’s hard to tell someone you can’t come back to school, even though you know they broke the rules,” she said.

On the council reappointing her, Garris said, “I appreciate they saw a need for continuity on the Board of Education at this time when a new school superintendent is going to be hired. Our board works well together, and this is going to continue to provide stability for our school system and new school superintendent.”

Hogan was also at the council meeting and told the members as a former councilman he knows picking someone for the BOE is the most difficult of all the panel’s board appointments.

“Anytime you have a BOE appointment, you are going to have people lobbying for their choice, even people that live outside the city will call you with their candidate in mind,” he said. “I want to thank you for considering me and everything you put into considering the appointment. I want to congratulate Mrs. Garris. I voted to put her on the board for her first term.”

Hogan had triple heart bypass surgery and could not be interviewed April 17 when the council interviewed Garris and Bailey.

He was interviewed May 1, and the council delayed acting on the BOE appointment until Tuesday’s meeting. Perryman said the panel needed time to consider the three candidates.

Garris has continued to serve on the board while the council considered the appointment. She will begin her new term at the June BOE meeting.