Thursday, December 11, 2008

Succession Statement on Eugene "Red" Johnson

Press Release
For Immediate Release
For more information Contact
ISSUED DECEMBER 11, 2008 AT 6:00 P.M.
James F. Valley, Mayor, (870)817-4035 or

Helena-West Helena is a city of the First Class with a population of less than 50,000 people. Therefore, by a majority vote of the nine (9) remaining council members, this city council shall replace Mr. Eugene “Red” Johnson without the need for a special election. This council will need at least six (6) people present at the time of the vote and at least five (5) affirmative votes on the person chosen to succeed Mr. Johnson. This council may lawfully make the successor appointment at any of its future meetings.

The successor needs only to be a qualified elector of the district/ward (Ward 4) in order to be selected. A qualified elector is generally a person over the age of 18 who is registered to vote and lives within Ward Four. Interested person may verify such qualifications with the office of the County Clerk at 620 Cherry Street (72342) or via telephone at (870)338-5505.

The law on this matter is clear:
A.C.A. § 14-43-411
(a)(1) Whenever a vacancy shall occur, for any reason, in the office of alderman in any city of the first class, at any regular meeting after the occurrence of the vacancy, the city council shall proceed to elect by a majority vote of the remaining members elected to the council an alderman to serve for the unexpired term. Provided, however, it is necessary that at least a quorum of the whole number of the city council shall remain in order to fill a vacancy.
(2) The person elected by the council shall be a resident of the ward where the vacancy occurs at the time of the vacancy.

In following tradition, Mr. Tommy Hunt should take the lead on this matter. "I believe we should provide him with as much help, without interference, as we possibly can" said Mayor James F. Valley. I have been approached by several people in this community regarding the successor appointment. I have been provided with several names, which I will list below.

I spoke with Mrs. Ruth Norwood Johnson regarding the replacement of her husband Eugene Johnson on the city Council. She and I discussed the possibility of Mrs. Ruth Johnson accepting the appointment. She is qualified and capable. It would honor Red's legacy by her filling his shoes. However, at the time of our discussion, she declined to accept the position. Mrs. Johnson did pledge her continued support of the city in its future endeavors. Mrs. Johnson did also state that she would like to recommend a successor and she hopes that the council will honor her recommendation. Prior to the council making a final decision on the successor appointment, I will confirm that Mrs. Johnson remains uninterested in serving out Red's term of office. I will also ascertain the name or names of persons she would like for the council to consider.
The names that have been provided to me thus far include:

Mrs. Ruth N. Johnson;
Ms. Millicent Johnson;
Mr. Earnest Simpson, Jr.;
Ms. Princess Burnside;
Mr. Leroy L. Charles;
Mr. Billy McMillan;
Mr. Eddie L. O’neal;
Mr. Anthony T. Stayton;
Ms. Marie Corbin;
Mr. Dwight House;
Mr. Raymond Simes;
Mr. Edward Taylor;
Ms. Vida Fielder;
Mr. James Sims;
Mr. Cliff Angel;
Ms. Adrienne Corbin;
Ms. Bettye Faye McKinney Brimley;
Mr. Vincent Bell;
Mr. Shay Sims;
Mr. Larry Brown;
Mrs. Regina Simes;
Ms. Phyllis Hammonds;
Mr. Carl Danley;
Ms. Loistyne Burrell;
Mr. Freddie Spann;
Ms. Francine Hawkins;
Ms. Emma Petty;
Ms. Sarah Lovelace;
Mr. Tommie Cole;
Mr. Ray Price; 
Mr. Matthew Whitfield; and
Mr. Roy Bridges.

"I have neither checked with the persons named to gauge their actual interest nor verified their residency within Ward Four" said Mayor Valley. "I received these names primarily through telephone contacts from persons other than the persons named."

The city council and members of this community are free to submit additional names to the Mayor's office. The Mayor will then share that information with the city council. In other words, this list of names is not intended to crown anyone to the exclusion of others. However, we are mindful that this is not an election and great weight should be given to the ward's elected representative, Mr. Tommy Hunt, in the selection of a successor. "We should also seek to do this in a dignified manner that displays appropriate decorum, taste and respect for our government institutions and for Eugene “Red” Johnson's legacy." the Mayor quipped. Valley went on to say, “Now, more than ever, we need to work together for the common good.”

"I hope and expect that the city council will, at its regular meeting on December 16, 2008, will fill this important position such that the residents of Ward Four have equal representation to other residents throughout the city" said Mayor James F. Valley. Mrs. Ruth Johnson said “I would be pleased and honored if the council appointed someone with characteristics and beliefs similar to those held by my husband.” 

In closing, Mayor Valley said “I also hope and expect that the city council, administration and employees will find a fitting and appropriate way of memorializing the late Mr. Eugene “Red” Johnson.”

# # #

Bookmark and Share

No comments: