Benham council tables naming of mayor
Panel to seek community input
by Joe P. Asher Staff Writer
The city of Benham remains without a mayor following a special called meeting Thursday.
The council selected Councilman David Kidwell to chair the meeting.
Kidwell opened the discussion about appointing a new mayor by going over the requirements for the position.
Kidwell read that a candidate must be 21 years old, reside in the city limits for at least a year, must be a qualified voter and reside within the city limits throughout the term.
“I would sure like to have somebody take on the responsibility,” said Kidwell. “I’d like to see somebody young, vibrant, somebody willing to get along with people.”
Kidwell suggested tabling the issue in order to see if anybody expressed interest in the position.
Councilman George Massey reminded the council they only had 30 days from the date of an order signed by Harlan Circuit Judge Henry Johnson that removed the former mayor from office to choose a new mayor.
There was some discussion over the exact date a mayor had to be chosen. The council decided to check if the law required a choice be made within 30 consecutive days or if they had 30 working days to appoint a mayor before the governor would be required to step in and make an appointment.
Kidwell suggested holding a town meeting at the Coal Miner’s Memorial Theater to get the public’s input on the situation.
“I say we call out the whole town and have a discussion over who will be mayor,” said Kidwell.
A resident in attendance suggested the council table the issue until the next regular meeting and see if anyone comes forward.
“I’m for tabling it, but I sure would like to get the whole town in on this discussion, not just the council,” said Kidwell.
After some more discussion, the council tabled the issue.
The council also discussed the issue of an IRS debt owed by the city. Kidwell advised the panel the IRS issue was at a temporary standstill due to the federal government being shut down.
“One of the council members has been in contact with the office in Corbin,” said Kidwell. “Since the federal government’s been shut down, they are (considered) non essential personnel and they are unavailable.”
The council decided to contact a tax attorney to see how to proceed.
In other activity, the council passed a motion acknowledging the town was without a mayor.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, firstname.lastname@example.org
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