An elected official in Northport is allowed to appoint her co-worker to a vacant seat on the city council if she so chooses, the Alabama Ethics Commission said Friday.

The incumbent in question, Christy Diane Bobo, is serving her first term on the council, representing Northport's District 1.

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She and the other three incumbents on the council will vote later this month to appoint a new representative in District 3. The seat has been vacant since former councilman John Hinton was named mayor last month after Bobby Herndon's resignation went into effect on December 31st.

Seven Northport residents have expressed interest in the position, but one of them, Carl Wiggins, is a manager in the I.T. Department for Tuscaloosa's Randall Reilly publishing company.

Councilwoman Bobo also works for Randall Reilly in their Business Development for Asset Intelligence Department.

Some Northport residents questioned whether Bobo should be allowed to vote to appoint a co-worker to the vacant seat, leading city attorney Ron Davis to seek an opinion from the ethics commission on the matter.

The state board replied Friday afternoon and said Bobo can vote for Wiggins if she chooses to do so over the other six applicants.

"There is nothing in the Ethics Act that would prohibit Ms. Bobo from voting for Mr. Wiggins to fill the vacant position on the City Council provided she is not receiving anything for the purpose of corruptly influencing her official action," they said in a ruling Davis provided the Thread. "The Ethics Act prohibits public officials from using their official positions to obtain personal gain for themselves, a family member, or a business with which they are associated. Public officials may also not solicit or receive anything for the purpose of corruptly influencing an official action. Further, no member of any county or municipal agency, board, or commission shall vote or participate in any matter in which the member or family member of the member has any financial gain or interest.
Based on the facts provided, there is no indication that Ms. Bobo or a business with which she is associated would obtain personal gain from voting for Mr. Wiggins or that she or her family members have any financial gain or interest that would be affected by the vote. Therefore, provided she has not otherwise solicited or received something for the purpose of corruptly influencing her official action, there is nothing in the Ethics Act that would prohibit her from voting for Mr. Wiggins to fill the vacant position on the City Council should she desire to do so."

Now, the council is set to proceed with a vote to fill the vacancy the Monday after next, February 20th.

Joining Wiggins on the dance card are Phillip Bernardo, Kevin Pate, Jaime Conger, Jason Barksdale, Mark Brown and Jamey Clements.

For updates on the appointment later this month, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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