Benham still without a mayor

Joe P. Asher Staff Writer

September 26, 2013

The city of Benham still has not chosen a mayor following the removal of former mayor Shirley Dodd through a court decision enforcing an attorney general’s opinion that Dodd was appointed during an illegal meeting.

The council held a special-called meeting Nov. 15 and appointed then council member Shirley Dodd to serve as mayor following the resignation of her husband, John Dodd, from the mayor’s seat. Sometime after the meeting, Benham resident Roy Silver contacted the Office of the Attorney General claiming the meeting was illegal.

Silver filed a petition with the Harlan Circuit Court in May requesting the attorney general’s decision be enforced. Judge Henry Johnson ordered the AG’s ruling enforced following a hearing on Sept. 12.

Council member George Massey said Thursday that the council has not yet decided who to appoint to the mayor’s seat.

“We are in the process of getting someone to step up to the plate,” said Massey. “I think we still have a couple of weeks or so before the governor would have to do any stepping in.”

According to Kentucky law, if the council does not appoint a mayor within 30 days, it will be up to the governor to appoint a new mayor for the city.

“Before then, we should have somebody,” said Massey.

Massey was asked if there are any nominees being considered that could be made public.

“Not right now,” said Massey. “Different ones are just praying about it. We’re not pressuring anybody. When they come to the conclusion yea or nay, we’ll go from there.”

According to a previous report, a heated debate occurred over the court’s decision which caused the regular council meeting set for the evening of Sept. 12 to not be called to order.

“I reckon everything is settled,” said Massey. “Like I said that night, Shirley (Dodd) was there when he made that ruling and he told her when the papers came across his desk and were signed…she’d be out.”

Massey said there had been no further attempt by either of the former mayors to regain the mayor’s seat.

Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, jasher@civitasmedia.com