Legally, no minutes means no council

Published 12:08 am Friday, September 28, 2012

Under Alabama law, no official council meetings and no recorded minutes for the last 90 days means there is no sitting River Falls Town Council.

The town council is required by ordinance to meet on the first of Tuesday of each month. By law, the council shall also “keep a journal” of its proceedings, also known as minutes, or a minute book, whether or not a quorum is present.

The law also states that any elected municipal official who misses all regular and special called council or commission meetings for 90 consecutive days, beginning on the date of any absence, shall be removed from office by operation of law.

“This is all factual driven,” said Tracey Roberts with the Alabama League of Municipalities of the process. “Find the last meeting attended. Find first meeting missed, and then count 90 days. If it’s longer than that, then, they’re out.”

There are conflicting accounts about River Falls Town Council meetings. It appears that members of the River Falls Town Council have held at least three illegal council meetings in the last three months, the latter of which the only one when minutes were taken.

“So really what I’ve learned is we’re really a town without a governing body, and I’m not sure what to do next,” said Councilwoman Mattie Freeney.

It takes a majority vote of the council, including the mayor, to reinstate a councilman if removed under the statute. The course of action involving an entire council is unclear.

The new council, elected Aug. 28, takes office the first Monday in November.