Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Cherokee Gas & Water Board - More Popular Than We Thought

For the past eight years, Barbara Gayle Carroll has served on the Gas & Water Board of the small Colbert County town of Cherokee, estimated population 1,200. Current mayor Chuck Lansdell would like to see Carroll serve a third term. Apparently at least two other Cherokee residents would like to thwart Lansdell's wishes. Art Walker and Emma Haley have also applied for the opening.

The position pays no money and, presumably in a town with Cherokee's recent history, may carry a burden of built-in angst. So, why the sudden interest in this rather low profile, no respect municipal task?

Carroll is certainly more than qualified for the position, having been a water department watch dog since 1997 when she questioned the need for a 1.3 million dollar water system in a town with only 750 active water accounts. According to Lansdell, Carroll has also volunteered to read water meters when the department has been short handed.

Applicant Art Walker serves under Lansdell in the Cherokee Fire Department; sources say he has often been at odds with Mayor/Chief Lansdell over various city related projects. Both Walker and Emma Haley seem to be favored by most council members whom Lansdell has accused of being supporters of his predecessor Mignon Willis.

Obviously in any political brouhaha, the first order of business is to follow the money; however, since this is Cherokee, the Water & Gas Board may just be a victim of petty grievances that boiled over into other areas. Bottom line: Why doesn't the town let Chuck Lansdell have this job as well--he certainly likes to brag that he runs everything else in the town.

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