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Taylor and Kervin

City files for declaratory judgments on candidates

By Michael Butler

In a special called meeting on Thursday night, the Tallassee City Council passed motions requesting declaratory judgments on the qualifications of mayoral candidates Jeanna Kervin and Trey Taylor. Each vote was 3-2.

"There are questions to some candidates qualifications," councilman David Stough said. "The law states a decision be made by the court, therefore the council has no decision."

"We don't have the right to declare residency," councilman Rob Rygiel noted, choosing to abstain from voting for that reason.

Council members Darrell Wilson and Terrel Brown voted in favor of the motions against Kervin and Taylor's candidacies introduced by Stough, while Heather Johnson and Bill Godwin opposed. Charles Blalock was absent.

"We did ask the candidates to send in documentation," Godwin said. "I based my decision on documentation. We're not in a position to carry this any further."

Brown said he contacted the secretary of state's office. "It doesn't state that the council has the right, the court has the right," Brown noted.

"Why didn't we leave it up to the system," questioned Godwin.

It is uncertain how soon a court decision on Kervin and Taylor's candidacies will be made. Nonetheless, each candidate is moving forward with their campaigns.

"Trey and I have a unified front on this," said Kervin, who had a 5-2 vote in her favor at the regular council meeting on Monday. "I've met every requirement by the board of electorates."

"You're trying to dictate a mayoral race," added Taylor. "I met the qualifications of the state to a tee."

The Alabama League of Municipalities notes in its election manual that a "person must have resided within the municipality for at least 30 days prior to the election, must have been residents of the municipality for at least 90 days prior to the election and be a qualified elector at the time of filing of the statement of candidacy."

Additionally, the manual states that the residence be an "actual physical residence and not merely legal residence for voting purposes. The term "resident" refers to domicile or permanent residence as distinguished from temporary residence. A candidate does not establish a legal residence merely by stating an intention to reside in a particular district. A candidate must have a physical presence in the district, as well as the intention to reside in the district."

Taylor's address is on Gilmer Avenue. "Come knock on my door at 10:00 tonight," he said.

"I'll be at King Street. I've got milk and eggs in the refrigerator," Kervin pointed out. "They're trying to manipulate the system. They're afraid of something. We've had people watching our house. That's a little bit scary."

The municipal election will be on Aug. 23.

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