By Bill Short
The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen appointed Barbara Halliburton this week to fill the vacancy created on the School Board by Ronnie Mackin’s resignation.
Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Thomas McGhee and seconded by Alderman Larry Dagen.
The motion was passed by a 5-2 vote, with Aldermen Mike Caruthers and Frankie Dakin dissenting.
Mackin was elected in November 2016 to a four-year term in school board Position 5. He resigned on Feb. 1 to open an insurance agency in Sevierville.
Halliburton will serve in the position until the Nov. 6 election. Then, the winner of that election will serve during the remainder of Mackin’s unexpired term, which ends on Dec. 1, 2020.
Shortly before the vote, Mayor Terry Jones said the city board received nine applications for the appointment and had an opportunity to review all of them. Prior to Monday night’s meeting, he asked each alderman to independently rank the applications in order of preference by using a secret ballot.
Jones said Halliburton received four No. 1 votes, two No. 2 votes and one No. 6 vote.
The other eight applicants, ranked in order of preference, were Greg Ritter, Jason Dupree, Don Holsinger, Joseph Scott Hendren, Emile G. Sigee, Bobby Percer, Louise Kennon and Austin Brewer.
During the portion of the meeting designated for public comments, school board Chairman C. J. Haley asked the board to “delay” the appointment for “one important reason” – communication.
She recalled that, in October 2017, the city board asked the school board to attend a Work Session to discuss the latter’s Five-Year Plan, as well as other issues.
“A common theme that night was communication,” she noted. “I heard that message loud and clear, and I also agree. We do need to improve the communication between our two boards.”
Haley said “a good way to start” that would be with this appointment. She expressed a desire for the two boards to get together, discuss the candidates and “come up” with one they can “all get behind.”
“It’s not something the Charter says you have to do,” she acknowledged. “But I think it would go a long way to bridge this gap in communication that we have.”
Haley also said she would like the two boards to jointly meet on a regular basis “from now on” to avoid “miscommunication.”
Shortly before the vote, in response to a question by Dakin, City Attorney Gerald Lawson said Tennessee law requires the board to fill the vacancy at its “next regular meeting” after a resignation.
Because Mackin’s resignation is already effective, Lawson said Monday night was “technically” the next regular meeting.
Shortly before the meeting concluded, Dakin suggested that the city board “follow up” on Haley’s request to schedule regular joint meetings with the school board.
Caruthers said a resolution should be prepared that outlines how “replacements” will be appointed to the city board and school board.
“It seems like we go through this every time, where we decide how we’re going to do it,” he noted. “This way, we put it in writing, so everybody who applies for the job knows exactly what we’re going to be doing.”
By Bill Short