Ledbetter Appointed to DeSoto Place 2 Seat for a Three Month Unexpired Term

Courtesy Photo

DESOTO – After over an hour of deliberation at a Monday night Special City Council meeting, Council voted 4-2 in favor of naming former DeSoto councilmember Patricia Ledbetter to fill the unexpired term left open by Kay Brown-Patrick.

DeSoto councilmember’s Place 3 Nicole Raphiel and Place 5 Dinah Marks both voted against the appointment.

Last week at the winter retreat, Council agreed to implement an application nomination process allowing residents in Place 2 the chance to run for the unexpired term. The quick turnaround for the applications resulted in five candidates interested in taking the vacant seat.

Each candidate had to be sponsored by a councilmember for their name to be nominated at this week’s meeting.

Brown Patrick nominated two candidates for her former seat but was told she could only select one. She chose Emmanuel Johnson. Pierette Parker who has filed an application to run for the Place 2 seat in May was nominated by Raphiel, Jean Green Frazier was nominated by Mayor Pro Tem Andre Byrd and Ledbetter was nominated by Proctor.

This was the second time Ledbetter was nominated. There was a long discussion at the previous council meeting about appointing Ledbetter to the seat. At that time, it was determined that if the seat could not remain empty until May’s elections, a proper procedure should be put in place for nominating council members being named to unexpired terms when necessary.

From the beginning of the discussion last week, Marks was adamant she was not in favor of appointments and never has been. She was in favor of leaving the seat open since the May election is only three months away.

She added “We cannot right now try to start a process.”

Marks also said she did not see a need to have someone in that seat just to have a person in that seat.

Raphiel said at last week’s meeting “This is our opportunity to establish better processes.”

She believed that there needed to be a process to allow all Place 2 residents to have the chance, if interested, to fill the seat for the unexpired term.

She said the council needs “a transparent process in place. Our custom is to allow people to vote for those boards and commissions.  As a council for those very important ones, we interview that person, particularly for the DeSoto Economic Development Corporation. The collective has not had the opportunity to interview the candidate who is being proposed tonight.”

It was said by Proctor at the initial council meeting when Brown-Patrick resigned “As we work to appoint someone to fill the short remainder of the term for Place 2, it will be important to me that it is someone who commits to not run for the permanent seat in May.”

It was later noted that council could not tell someone they could not run for the open Place 2 seat if they met the residency requirements such as length of time living in the City and in the Place 2 district.

Raphiel had even said at last week’s meeting the city attorney would have to let council know if they can even ask someone who is appointed not to run for the seat to fill Place 2 in the May election.

Kay Brown-Patrick had suggested at last week’s council meeting that in her opinion Ledbetter was not the best choice since she had lost the last election for the same seat to Brown-Patrick.

As of tonight two candidates have filed applications to run for Place 2 in the May election, Gilbert Graim, Jr. and Pierette Parker.

Place 4 is also on the ballot this May, Andre’ Byrd, Sr. (incumbent) has filed to run.