Mayor Lynn Long recommended a vote on both positions. Neither item was on the agenda.
Long recommended changing the mayor pro-tem position from council member Earl Gray to council member Louis Hamm. The three-member council approved the recommendation in a 2-1 vote, with Gray casting the “no” vote.
Long also recommended that the deputy police chief’s position, which has been vacant for six years, be filled by patrol officer Jeff Holcomb. The council voted 2-1 for it, with Gray casting the “no” vote. But this time, the “2-1” vote was not sufficient for approval, city attorney Robert Stultz said.
The reason the pro-tem recommendation passed on a 2-1 vote and the deputy police chief recommendation failed with the same votes can be found in the city’s charter, Stultz said.
In section 2.33 of the charter, the mayor pro-tem can be established with “majority” vote in the first meeting of January, Stultz said.
The council, which generally consists of five members and requires three votes to constitute a “quorum” ap-proval, currently has only three members. One council member, Charles Sharrock, was removed from office on Nov. 27 in the wake of sexual harassment accusations. Another council member, Eddie Stinnett, died on Nov. 28.
"When they drafted the charter, nobody perceived a difference in ‘majority’ vote versus a ‘quorum’," said Stultz. "This is the only place in the charter where ‘majority’ is written. In another part of the charter it says it takes three people (a quorum of the five-member council) for something to pass. We are dealing with two parts of the charter."
Goulart said the city has not filled the deputy police chief position because “the police chief is doing an excel-lent job running the department. …. He hasn't asked for the position to be filled.”
Gray said he voted “no” on filling the deputy police chief post because a recommendation from the police chief was necessary to appoint someone into the vacant position.
Police chief David Eubanks was not at the meeting to give his opinion on the position being filled.