Council member calls for local inn’s license to be revoked

HALEYVILLE - Haleyville City Council Member Jonathan Bennett made a motion near the end of the council’s Dec. 17, meeting to revoke the business license for the Imperial Inn in Haleyville, a motion that was not on the agenda for the meeting.
During council members' remarks, which typically come near the end of Haleyville City Council meetings, Bennett spoke out about the Imperial Inn, looking at the mayor and council members.
“You have probably  heard the same thing I am about to say.  I have got numerous people that pin me up about the Imperial Inn.  We have talked about it.  What are we going to do about the situation down there?  Evidently, there have been quite a few arrests made down there,”  Bennett said.
“What can we do?”  council member Richard Bittinger asked.
“You can revoke their business license tonight,”  Bennett firmly replied.  “You can revoke their business license tonight based on public safety and end it.  If we’re wrong, we have fairly good counsel right here that can take care of us,” Bennett said, referring to city attorney Jeff Mobley.
“We can’t be afraid of being sued for making the right decision.  I say you revoke the business license because of public safety,”  Bennett added.
Mayor Ken Sunseri asked Mobley how the matter should be handled.  Mobley suggested that Sunseri and the council go into executive session because he would be giving legal advice.  Bennett immediately interrupted Mobley, calling for an executive session.  The council left the courtroom for approximately 5-6 minutes.
Once returning to the courtroom chamber and reconvening the meeting, Sunseri asked Mobley to explain what the council has agreed to do regarding the allegations against Imperial Inn.
“It is my recommendation to the council that you give me an opportunity to review the proper procedure for giving consideration to whether or not a license should be revoked, under the circumstances.  I have also asked for an opportunity to do a little bit of investigation into all of the allegations that might be involved in any petition to revoke the license,”  Mobley said, adding that he would have everything completed by the next council meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 6.  The mayor and council agreed to the decision.
Other business
Thrasher offered condolences on behalf of the mayor and council to Bittinger on the recent loss of his mother. Bittinger thanked the mayor and council for the card they sent to him and their kind words and prayers.  He also discussed the latest unemployment figures.  The state’s unemployment rate for October - the latest figure available - is seasonally adjusted at 2.8 percent.  Winston County’s rate is just slightly higher at  3 percent.
“That’s the lowest unemployment since we’ve been in office.  We’re proud of that,”  Bittinger said.
Bittinger also noted that a record crowd showed up at Christmas by the Lake Dec. 14, to visit with Santa Claus.  He thanked all the local businesses that helped the Haleyville Fire Department put on the annual event.  
Sunseri congratulated  Doug Kennedy, of Haleyville, on his upcoming induction into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
“In the early 1990s, Doug was dominating the wheelchair racers of the United States.  He’s a world record holder for the 1500m and 5K.  He was a gold medalist in the 1990 Goodwill Games in the 1500m race.  He was on the 1988 and 1992 US Paralympic Team,”  Sunseri said, congratulating Kennedy.
Sunseri informed the council that Katie Tidwell has been hired as accounting clerk, effective Dec. 16.  Council member Blue Russell offered congratulations on behalf of the mayor and council to Horace Moore, who has been appointed sheriff of Winston County, effective Jan. 1.
The next meeting of the Haleyville City Council is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 6, at 5:30 p.m.

See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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