By Luke Brantley
WINFIELD — Larry Reese Sr. will fill the vacant city council seat after winning the run-off election held on Tuesday, July 11, between Reese and Kenneth Crumpton.
The run-off was held after no candidate received at least 51% of the vote in the first election on Tuesday, June 13.
A total of 268 votes were cast in person and through absentee and provisional ballots during the initial election.
Reese received the most votes with 102 in total after the absentee and provisional ballots were counted in a special called meeting of the city council on Thursday, June 15. Crumpton received 68 votes in total.
As for the other candidates, Debby Posey received 54 total votes and Steve Martin received 44 total votes.
The city council once again counted absentee and provisional ballots on Thursday, July 13, adding only one vote to the total. Reese received 139 votes in total, while Crumpton received 85.
That adds up to a total of 224 votes cast in this election.
The special election was held to fill the open council seat left after councilman Eddie Posey passed away last year.
The Winfield City Council voted during its regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, to declare a vacant seat on the council after Posey passed away on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022.
Posey was appointed to the city council in late 2021 after Rusty Barnes, who held the seat before him, had to resign his chair after moving outside Winfield city limits. Posey ran against Barnes for the seat in the last election, and lost by a slim margin, which made Posey the council’s first choice to fill that seat.
The council had 60 days after declaring the vacancy to appoint someone for the position.
According to state law, if the council fails to find an appointment within that amount of time, the decision goes to the governor. If the governor fails to appoint someone, it goes to the Marion County Probate Judge, who can declare a special election for the position.
After the council allowed the 60 days to pass without making an appointment, and after the governor did not make an appointment, the special election was held for the position.
Several city council members favored holding an election over making an appointment after the vacancy was declared.
Reese will be sworn in during the city council’s next meeting on Tuesday, July 25, at 5:30 PM. It won’t be the first time he’s gone through that process.
“I’ve been on the council before during the late Hewitt Addison era, and I’ve always loved being a public servant and being in a position to help people,” Reese said. “That’s why I like the funeral business, it’s a position where you’re helping people that you know in the most traumatic time in their life, and I just feel comfortable doing that.”
Reese grew up in Wayside but has lived most of his adult life in Winfield. He has worked in the funeral industry for over 50 years, and currently works at Bowen Funeral Home. He also serves as the chairman of the 9-1-1 board.
Over the course of his career, Reese has served as a police officer in Fayette and Winfield, and he served as Marion County coroner for two terms. He is also a member of the Winfield Masonic Lodge #304.
While Reese is happy to serve, but he said that the election might not have been necessary, and that voter turnout was low.
“I thought that there were people capable of finishing out that term, and for what it cost to have that election, I thought it would have been a lot more beneficial to appoint somebody and save that money,” he said. “I’d like to thank all the people for their support. But I was real disappointed in the turnout here. I don’t know many qualified voters we’ve got in Winfield, but 255 is all that showed up the first one, and less than that in the (runoff). It’s very disappointing. I guess that, from the top of our nation on down, people are just fed up with politics and just don’t have any interest in it.”
Reese said that his priorities will be bringing in new jobs and working to improve city streets.
“We’re always interested in getting new industries to come in and new places for people to work, things like that,” he said. “We need a lot of road improvement around here. I just want to do anything that will benefit the citizens and serve their needs.”
In other business:
- The Winfield City Council was prepared to open bids for street and tennis court paving projects during its meeting on Thursday, July 13, but none were received;
- The council voted to pay up to $35 thousand toward a new bus for the senior center, pending any grant money the senior center might receive;
- Mayor Randy Price addressed the ongoing issues with the traffic lights, explaining that Alabama Department of Transportation District 59 Administrator Wes Spiller told him he has been trying to contact the insurance and consulting agencies responsible for handling the repairs, but no one is picking up the phone for either party to explain the current delay.
See complete story in the Journal Record.