By Ashley Graves
The Cullman Times
For the first time in almost a year, members of the Morgan County delegation were back at the table with other North-central Alabama Regional Council of Governments (NARCOG) board members Friday, bringing with them a strong voice.
After agreeing to return to the organization last week, Morgan County members asked a for a special meeting to be called to discuss the temporary executive director position, which was recently filled by West Point Mayor Kenneth Kilgo.
Not long into Friday’s meeting, the board of directors voted 9-0, after a motion from Lawrence County Commission Chairman Bobby Burch, and a second from Morgan County Commissioner Randy Vest, to override an earlier decision made last Wednesday to name Kilgo the interim director
“We have nothing against the choice you made at the last meeting, but we just feel like he’s not the person we want to represent us at NARCOG right now,” Morgan County Chairman Ray Long said. “I think we’re at a stage where we would like to move on forward past all of these problems we’ve had, and it’s just time we start with a fresh table.”
Kilgo was tabbed to take over the role by a 6-2 vote, with six members abstaining after Lona Johns announced her retirement, effective Feb. 6, at the regular scheduled meeting in Holly Pond.
Long said he felt it was a decision that shouldn’t have been made.
“It shouldn’t have been made knowing we were coming back,” he said. “This is a very important decision for the organization, and we feel Morgan County, just as Cullman and Lawrence County, should have been at the table when negotiations were going on with that particular issue.”
Stefanie Franklin, who currently serves as director of aging for NARCOG, was named to take over as interim director by a unanimous vote. As part of her role, Long made it clear to board members that the position would come with lesser duties than in the past. He said no major decisions would be made by Franklin, and that she would only be over day-to-day operations.
“Our goal of Morgan County is not to have this interim director ride it out for a year like the last one did,” Long said. “We plan to work with you and this whole board to try to have a permanent director in place soon.”
He added the goal is to have a full-time director in place by around the first or mid part of April.
“I hope the goal of everyone is to get to work on this quickly so we can get us one, lay all of this to rest, and get back to where we need to be, which is focusing on our seniors.”
In a phone call to Kilgo following the meeting, he said he would have to speak with an attorney as to how the meeting played out, but did note he planned to continue his work with the organization.
“I have no ill will toward anybody,” Kilgo said. “I’m still not certain I’m terminated from the program manager position. It’s my intent to still get on the road, and I’ll continue to work as long as the board wants me to.”
Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org