Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Local News

September 12, 2013

Council seat dispute results in fireworks — What might have been seen as a routine move by appointing a temporary city council member to a vacant seat with significant time left to serve did not sit well for one Pauls Valley member who disputed the motion Tuesday night.

Attempting to appeal to his fellow elected city leaders, Councilman Hal Blevins made one more plea to allow a seat vacated by former Mayor Billy Riddle earlier this summer to go before voters in November through a motion to support an item on the meeting’s agenda. It was a matter that eventually resulted in him leaving the meeting early and possibly his seat as well.

“I think that’s what we should do, we’re a representative government body elected by the people… that’s the very heart of representative democracy is that the people elect who serves up here, that we do not appoint them,” said Blevins.

“I think the people deserve the right to say who sits here… so that’s my plea.”

After there was no second, the motion died on the floor, whereupon Mayor Gary Alfred made a suggestion to appoint former lake board member Mike Parrish to the position.

Upon conclusion of the meeting he noted how he contacted Parrish after someone had suggested him and had been told would likely not run for reelection after serving out the term that ends on March 2015.

Before making a motion to appoint Parrish to the position, Councilman Patrick Grimmett made a note how he did understand Blevins’ point of view, but felt it was better in this case to appoint the suggestion.

“Hal I appreciate and I don’t necessarily disagree with what you said,” said Grimmett. “But for a year and a half I don’t think it’s necessary to have a full blown election.”

It was during this vote Blevins added how as the council was making a decision to appoint he did not feel comfortable continuing his participation before walking out without voting himself one way or another.

“You all, my friends and colleagues, you all have appointed someone to that chair, which I think should be elected,” said Blevins. “And while you’re in that mood this chair doesn’t fit my butt or my philosophy or my conscience.”

After taking a break, the council meeting resumed with the three who remained, including Councilwoman Jocelyn Rushing, finishing out the meeting.

(Editor’s note: A follow-up discussion with Blevins will be included in a future edition of the Democrat.)

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