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Salyersville Independent

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SALYERSVILLE – A public hearing was held Wednesday, November 10 for the Salyersville City Council to consider removing a city council member from the council.

Minutes before press time, the council met with all members present, and after holding a brief executive session, Councilman Tex Holbrook turned in his resignation to Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd. The remaining council members unanimously voted to remove Colin Ray Jackson from office. As the Independent understands, his removal is considered immediate as of that vote.

As some background into the matter, in the regular October Salyersville City Council meeting, Colin Ray Jackson used a known racial slur in open meeting that roughly references a leadership role among slaves. The meeting was immediately adjourned and two days later Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd talked to Jackson, giving him a day to resign before he would call for a meeting to discuss removing him from office.

After Jackson reportedly declined to resign, giving a public apology and vowing to never use such language, again, a special meeting was called for October 27, with council voting with no opposition to hold a public hearing to remove Jackson. That hearing is what was held this week, with City Attorney Jeff Lovely presiding over the hearing. In order to pass, the vote had to be unanimous of the council members present and a quorum was required to hold the hearing.

The Salyersville Independent checked with the Kentucky League of Cities to determine the legal process for removing a mayor of council member from office.

The KRS statute citing in the agenda states: Except in cities of the first class, any elected officer, in case of misconduct, incapacity, or willful neglect in the performance of the duties of his office, may be removed from office by a unanimous vote of the members of the legislative body exclusive of any member to be removed, who shall not vote in the deliberation of his removal. No elected officer shall be removed without having been given the right to a full public hearing. The officer, if removed, shall have the right to appeal to the Circuit Court of the county and the appeal shall be on the record. No officer so removed shall be eligible to fill the office vacated before the expiration of the term to which originally elected.

Furthermore, Michelle Hill, the publications and marketing communications manager at the Kentucky League of Cities, explained that the legislative body, in this case the city council, must find that a member committed misconduct, was incapacity or committed willful neglect in order to remove a council member from office, and the action requires a unanimous vote. If any council members choose to abstain from voting, their votes will be counted with the majority of votes.

With this matter unfolding at press time, any updates will be posted to, on the SI’s Facebook page, and in next week’s issue of the Independent.

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