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The Red Bay Water and Gas Board votes during its June 9 meeting regarding dropping its lawsuit against the Red Bay City Council.

Red Bay City Council approves water, gas board resolution

In a special called meeting June 13, the Red Bay City Council approved a resolution authorizing the Red Bay Water and Gas Board to amend its certificate of incorporation.

Red Bay Mayor Charlene Fancher explained that for documentation purposes, it was necessary to pass a resolution allowing for the amendment of the certificate of incorporation for the board. This was in addition to approving the resolution presented from the board, which the board passed May 31, and which Fancher read aloud and the council approved June 1.

The amendment removes a paragraph containing a provision stating that none of the members of the water and gas board of directors shall be an officer of the town of Red Bay.

It also states the board has determined it would be in the best interests of both the board and the city to allow one member of the Red Bay City Council to serve as a member of the board while serving their term as council member “in order to facilitate communications and foster goodwill between the parties.”

The resolution additionally calls for the corporate power of the water and gas board to be exercised by a board of directors consisting of five members, that being the maximum and minimum number. The members of the board of directors will be elected by the governing body of the City of Red Bay.

Following the approval for the Red Bay Water and Gas board to amend its certificate of incorporation, the council discussed the vacant position of David Brown on the Red Bay Water and Gas Board.

Councilman Jason Vinson said he would like to make sure all parties are accepting all the resolutions before the council fills the position. The council voted in favor of this and moved the issue of appointing one city council member to the Red Bay Water and Gas Board to the next meeting.

Vinson formerly held a position on the water and gas board, which he resigned during the regular meeting of the Red Bay City Council Nov. 3, citing an ongoing legal battle between the water and gas board and the city council since the time he was voted to be on the board in 2020.

He explained during that meeting that he was not conceding a city council member could not serve on the board, noting that was the content of the legal matter, but that he wished to resign “so that our great city can move forward.”

During the most recent meeting of the Red Bay Water and Gas Board on June 9, the board asked its attorney, Danny McDowell, to speak about their decision to drop the lawsuit.

“That lawsuit that was filed back some time ago regarding whether or not a city council member can serve on the (water and gas) board,” McDowell recapped. “Well, first off, the city council member resigned from the board, (the one) that was involved in the lawsuit, and the chairman of this board who was a plaintiff in there together with the board is no longer the chairman, and the suit should be dismissed because it’s basically mooted as a result of your action of the resolution.”

McDowell explained he needed approval from the board to enter an appearance on behalf of the board and Mike Shewbart, the new chairman of the board, to request the court to dismiss the case.

The board voted unanimously in favor of this action, asking McDowell when he expected the action to be taken, to which he replied, “Shortly.”

The issue of appointing one member of the Red Bay City Council to the Red Bay Water and Gas board will be on the agenda at the next council meeting, which will be July 6. The work session starts at 3 p.m., and the meeting starts at 3:30 p.m. Meetings are held at Red Bay City Hall.