The Daleville City Council made changes to the city’s municipal court system during its regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 6.
The council approved a motion from council member Bobby Hardrick to consolidate the city’s two municipal judge positions into one position and appoint Daleville attorney Barbara Wade for two years for $900 a month.
Wade will fill the position of the city’s two previous municipal judges, Joe Gallo and Joe W. Adams. Both Gallo and Adams were appointed to the position by the current administration, though only Gallo served as municipal judge during the previous administration.
Both Gallo’s and Adams’ judgeships expired on Dec. 6, 2018, a fact brought before the council by City Attorney Henry Steagall during the council’s Dec. 17, 2018, work session.
He said judges can continue to serve in the position after their appointment is complete until the position is filled either by appointment or election.
Steagall then said there is a state law that prohibits the election of or the appointment of municipal judges who are 70 and older, but the interpretation of this law “has gotten complicated,” stating that some areas in the state ignore this law while others observe it.
Steagall told the council the League of Municipalities has said the law must stand, and the council also learned of an attorney general’s opinion, specific to the City of Jasper, that states the law must be observed.
He recommended the council authorize him to reach out to the attorney general’s office to receive an opinion that is specific to the City of Daleville.
The council approved a resolution authorizing Steagall to request an attorney general’s opinion specific to Daleville during its Dec. 18, 2018 meeting.
According to Steagall, the city received a letter on July 1 from the Attorney General’s office stating it “reaffirmed” its prior opinion given to the City of Jasper.
During the council’s Aug. 5 meeting, the council also re-appointed Nicholas Bull as the city prosecutor with pay set at $650 per month. The council also re-appointed Tony Livingston as the city’s public defender at $650 per month.
Council member Jo Reese then moved for a proclamation to be prepared “to thank the current, acting judges” for their service to the City of Daleville, asking the proclamation be presented at a public meeting. The council approved the motion.