Vote coming for Roseberry replacement

OXFORD - The Oxford City Council will vote again Monday on a replacement for Jerry Roseberry, a council member who resigned from his post earlier this year to run for mayor.

The council voted at its November meeting, but after city attorney David Strickland looked into Oxford's codes and ordinances, he suggested that the mayor and council vote again.

In November, the mayor and the five council members voted by secret ballot on four individuals to take the seat - Virgil Eady, Emma Lou Patterson, Norbert Thompson and Bill Shapiro. The council members did not verbally announce their choice nor sign their names on the ballots.

After two tied votes, the third vote selected Eady as the winner.

Strickland, who was not present at the November meeting, suggested to the council at its work session Monday night that they vote again at the December regular meeting.

After looking at the city's charter, Strickland said Monday that the mayor and council should have voted verbally.

"Five council members (one of whom may be the mayor) shall constitute a quorum and shall be authorized to transact business of the city council," reads Section 2.21 of the city's charter, which Strickland quoted Monday. "Voting on the adoption of ordinances shall be by voice vote or raising of right hand and the vote shall be recorded in the journal, but any member of the city council shall have the right to request a roll-call vote and such vote shall be recorded in the journal."

Either way, he suggested the council vote verbally.

"I think it was a good faith error," Strickland said Monday about the ballot vote.

When the council selected Eady in November, Eady was put to work that night and allowed to vote.

Strickland suggested the council also revote on those issues to avoid any complaints.

"I'm sorry that happened, but you learn something," Oxford Mayor William Murdy said Monday about the situation. "The other way didn't work."

Strickland said whoever wins the vote Monday could either be sworn in that night or wait until Jan. 7, which is the meeting night when the other elected council persons and Roseberry are sworn in for their new terms. Murdy said the council will decide that question at Monday's regular meeting, which is held at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center in Oxford.

Strickland said he plans to be at Monday's meeting in case a problem arises with the voting.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.