The Luther Town Board Tuesday night accepted the resignation of former Mayor Lea Ann Jackson from the board, and appointed Cecilia Taft as mayor.
Taft, a benefits manager at Langston University, has served as mayor before and is a veteran member of the Town Board.
The agenda item to accept Jackson’s resignation came just days after Jackson suddenly resigned after a draft agenda item called for an attempt to remove her as mayor.
Only one town resident signed up to offer a Public Comment regarding the issue. Luther resident Jenni White asked the four remaining board members to consider asking Jackson to continue serving.
“Accepting Lea Ann’s resignation is not a good move. She is a person who is a qualified CPA. From the town meetings I’ve been to, it seemed like she was extraordinarily capable and she was very interested in having the town become solvent,” said White.
She said there is momentum in the town with new businesses opening on Main Street such as the 116 Market. “We have a real possibility to make this town something that other people would like to come here to see but we can’t do that if we are constantly putting out fires because we are not paying our bills.”
After White’s comment, the board swiftly moved ahead with its agenda to discuss filling Jackson’s empty board seat either by calling a special election or appointing someone to fill the unexpired three year term.
Trustee Ron Henry called for a special election, however, Trustee Carolyn Lawson mentioned the cost of a special election at approximately $1,500.
“We spend money on everything else and I think this is very important,” said Henry who sited acrimony among the trustees. “We don’t get along now … What I am saying is I would like to have the town select the new trustee, not this board.”
Taft suggested if anyone is interested in being appointed to the seat, they should let it be known.
“Anyone interested should submit their name to Town Hall to Crystal (Wilson) or (Town Clerk) Trandy Langston if they are interested. And go through the same process as if we were hiring an employee. People interested can submit their names instead of us appointing someone we just think of,” said Taft.
There was no decision Tuesday night whether to appoint or call an election. The board has 60 days act on the vacancy.
Meantime, a Public Hearing will be held Wednesday, June 15, at 6:30 pm at Town Hall to consider the town’s budget. Former Mayor Jackson pushed for the budgeting process to comply with state law, a process that she said had not been done during her time on the board.