Soon, the chairman will be given more liberty, other than presiding over council meetings. His voice, or his vote, will be heard more.
City commissioners decided Monday night to allow the chairman to vote on city business, more so than just breaking ties between the remaining four commissioners.
For years, the city ordinance has stated the chairman only votes to undo deadlock votes, but Commissioner Ray Merritt proposed the council approve allowing the chairman more input.
He stated having the chairman to vote would help situations when the council is shorthanded in attendance or someone abstains from a vote.
Merritt’s suggestion received the support of both Wilburn Brown and Johnny Barrett, who took their first seats on the panel upon being elected last November.
The two men replace Jimmy Holland and Forrest McCombs.
The commission voted 3-1 in favor of the motion, with Commissioner Bert Wood opposing.
City attorney Mike McRae said the change would have to be precleared by the justice department before the city ordinance could be amended.
The process could take a year, he added, which would make it 2003 before the ordinance would become effective.
Earlier in the meeting, the panel elected Bobby Alexander as chairman by a unanimous vote, and Merritt, chairman protem, 4-1. Wood cast the opposing vote.