City facing lawsuit over district lines
by Briana Webster
May 09, 2014 | 2619 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A special called meeting was held Monday night by the Carbon Hill City Council and its mayor.

According to officials, Mayor James “Pee Wee” Richardson announced one day last week for a meeting to be held Monday night to discuss issues regarding the redistricting of the city. Ronald O’Rear and James Colburn filed a suit, with attorney Ken Guin, against the city for its failure to redistrict the council districts in the city following the 2010 census.

The complaint states: “... the City of Carbon Hill, Alabama, has abrogated its duty ... to redraw City Council district lines prior to the 2012 election; afford the city of Carbon Hill, Alabama, a reasonable opportunity to adopt a new redistricting plan for City Council Districts, and request this Honorable Court to determine the appropriate council district lines in the event of the failure of the City of Carbon Hill, Alabama, to do the same; order an immediate new election for City Council of Carbon Hill, Alabama, and grant such relief the Court deems necessary for the administration of justice. ...”

The request for admissions asks the city to admit or deny five listed items: “that following the 2010 census the Carbon Hill City Council failed to redistrict its council districts; the 2012 Carbon Hill municipal elections for City Council were conducted under the plan using census data from the 2000 census; one or more districts of the Carbon Hill City Council when using the 2010 census data are either over or under populated by more than 5 percent; one or more districts of the Carbon Hill City Council when using the 2010 census data are either over or under populated by 10 percent; and that none of the current members of the Carbon Hill City Council stood for election in 2012.”

All members were present during Monday night’s meeting except District 4 council member Mark Chambers and mayor pro tem James “Jimbo” Bray, Jr.

Chambers said he wasn’t notified about the meeting until earlier on Monday.

When asked what was discussed in the meeting, Chambers said other council members told him that “Ken Guin filed a lawsuit wanting us to redistrict all of the districts and have a new election in August for all the council members.” 

Richardson, who said he notified the media and council members about the special called Monday meeting during the last regular city council meeting held April 16, confirmed discussing the lawsuit with the city’s newest attorney, Steven Thomas.

“We talked about the lawsuit that was brought against us by two individuals in town about not redistricting in 2010 when the census was done, and it was supposed to be done and new lines drawed up, district lines, before the 2012 elections,” Richardson said. “It didn’t happen, and we got a lawsuit on it, and we met Monday night and went over the lawsuit with the attorney. We passed to go ahead and accept the way it was wrote up, and it’s my job to get up a new map and do the redistricting and present it to the council.” 

The next scheduled Carbon Hill City Council meeting will be Tuesday, May 13, at 6 p.m.