State Representative Micheal Echols blasted City Council Chairwoman Juanita Woods for trying to stack the deck to favor the mayor by refusing to appoint Doug Harvey as an interim city council member.
In a live Facebook post, Echols, who stepped down from the District 1 seat to begin service as State Representative, said Doug Harvey was unopposed as a candidate for the District 1 seat and should have been named to fill his unexpired term which runs through June 30.
Instead, Echols said Woods announced that the council needed someone with an accounting background who had been on the council before. He said that was a reference to former city council member Jay Marx, a Mayor supporter.
Echols said, “Councilwoman Woods, the chairman of the Monroe City Council would refuse to allow him to begin his service and be appointed at last night’s meeting or any future meeting. Her exact words are: “We need someone with more financial experience, who knows the budget and who has been a city councilman, someone with an accounting degree. I contest that there has only been maybe two city councilmen in the last 25 or 30 years that has that qualification; at this point it looks like she may recommending Jay Marx.”
Echols said, “I can tell you that Doug Harvey won this election fair and square. The politics that are being played at city hall by this councilwoman chair and her colleague is disgusting.”
He said Harvey represents a company that has a budget that is far superior to the City of Monroe. Echols said Harvey represents “Boots on the ground” because Harvey has been meeting with the people of the district and is prepared to serve.
Woods did not return phone calls or text messages Wednesday.
Woods cannot make an appointment to fill a vacancy alone, it requires a vote of three members of the council.
Wednesday, councilman Eddie Clark said that if Harvey has been elected by his district, he should be seated to fill out the remainder of Echol’s term before serving his own.
“In fairness to Ms. Woods, I have not actually been given direct information that Ms. Woods has refused to appoint Mr. Harvey as the interim council member for District 1. However, if true, it would be highly irresponsible for this council, as a collective group, not to appoint Doug Harvey as the interim councilman for District 1. The people have spoken and their wishes should be honored,” Clark said.
Clark added, “Last time I checked, we live in the United States of America which is a democratic society. There is no reasonable or plausible explanation that can be given for not allowing Mr. Harvey to get a head start on the learning curve that goes with being a newly elected council member. There are too many critical issues facing our great city than to get caught up in the weeds of politics.”