By Benjamin Bullard
The Cullman Times
Colony’s new mayor and council took another step toward asserting a different tone for the town’s future Monday, rehiring a former clerk who, like several others, had a brief but tumultuous tenure under a previous administration that struggled with infighting and indecision.
“I’m glad to be back, and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” said new town clerk Heather Royster, whom the council appointed to a full time position that will pay $10 per hour.
“We’re just thankful that she’s giving us another opportunity,” quipped new mayor Vernon Fields, who, along with the rest of the new council, is foregoing his monthly pay in order to ensure Royster can draw a full time salary.
“Heather will be in the office full time, so the town hall will be open every day, nine to five,” said Fields. “We want our residents to have access, and to be able to get in touch with somebody when they have a need they want to address with the town.”
Former clerk Patricia Farris, who worked through the end of Monday’s regular meeting, said she didn’t resent the council for making the change.
“I’m more relieved than upset,” she said after the meeting. “The way things were with the [previous] council for the past few months, really, you just get burned out. I wish Heather well, because I think she knows enough about the town and has been in the office long enough, before now, that she will do a good job.”
The group didn’t discuss the appointing of a fifth council member to fill a vacant seat Monday. The mayor and council members said they won’t sacrifice making a quality appointment for the sake of haste.
“We’ve got a good group, and we need someone who will gel with this group. We don’t want to rush this and appoint a person who isn’t going to work together for the good of our community,” Fields explained. “We would rather take our time and make sure that we get the right person in here for the job. The council and I want to bring pride and respect back into our community, for our kids and for our senior citizens. We want a positive person who wants to work and help our town do that.”
Although the town remains without an attorney, Fields said he’s hopeful the council will be ready to discuss candidates and make a hire at its next meeting, set for Dec. 17.
In other business, the council:
Established its monthly meeting schedule. Beginning in January 2013, the council will hold regular meetings on the second Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. Special meetings will be called, when appropriate, with sufficient public notice given.
Appointed council members to oversee the council’s standing committees. Marcus Bradford will chair the finance committee; Parish Fitts will chair the street and drainage committee; Alex Twitty will chair the park and recreation committee and Crystal Wilson will chair the sanitation and utilities committee. The council’s police and fire committee will be without a chair for at least the next 30 days.
Removed Crystal Wilson from the council’s roster of bank signatories, adding finance committee chair Marcus Bradford.
The council will meet at 6 p.m. Dec. 17 at Colony town hall.
Benjamin Bullard can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.