Former Ward 1 Councilwoman Verlinda White filled the vacated seat of Ward 1 Councilman Clemon Byrd on Tuesday night after Byrd left to fulfill U.S. military obligations.
Byrd announced his departure from the Council at its meeting on June 6.
“The orders dropped probably about three weeks ago that I will be deploying with Alabama National Guard," Byrd said. "I can’t say exactly where right now, it’s operational security measures, but I will say that it’s far, far, far away … In my absence, Miss Verlinda White has graciously agreed to my spot while I’ll be gone. She’s been here before and I’m confident that she’ll do a good job and continue the progress that we’ve started.”
Byrd said he would be away from Auburn for about a year. When he returns he will continue as councilman of Ward 1 for the remainder of his term, after which he plans to run for re-election in 2018.
Alabama law allows for the temporary replacement of Byrd in light of his military service and the appointment of White to fill his seat.
The City Council unanimously approved the appointment of White, who was a member of the City Council from 2002-06, to fill the vacated seat.
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“I have a lot that I have to get caught up on, and I’m committed to see us progress, not just as the ward but as the City of Auburn, so I know that it’s going to require reaching out and being available and expressing the sentiments of the constituents,” White said. “[Byrd] is quite dear to me, so my thoughts and prayers are with him and what he has before him, so I just want to do a good job so that when he comes back, he can pick it up and go on.”
During a public hearing, former Ward 1 Councilman Arthur Dowdell addressed the Council and announced his plans to run against Byrd in 2018.
Councilwoman White declined to comment on Dowdell’s announcement.
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