By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer
A small complication arose in the Rutledge mayoral race last week after former Rutledge City Council Member James Bratcher sat in on a meeting of the Rutledge City Council as a member of that council, even though he had effectively vacated his seat on the body when he qualified to run for the seat of mayor in Rutledge. However, this error will not have any consequences for Bratcher’s candidacy in the disputed race.
When Bratcher qualified to run in the Rutledge mayoral race during recent qualifying period for the Nov. 5 municipal elections, his seat on the Rutledge City Council became vacant, affirmed Bobby Howington, elections supervisor at the Morgan County Board of Elections and Registration Office.
Howington stated during a telephone interview that the mistake was probably just an oversight on Rutledge’s part, which shouldn’t affect Bratcher’s ability to continue to run for mayor of Rutledge.
Rutledge City Clerk Debbie Rutherford stated that it was indeed an oversight, and that Bratcher only voted to ratify the minutes of the previous meeting, which will need to be ratified again during Rutledge’s next meeting due to Bratcher’s vote.
Rutherford also said that she spoke to the city’s attorney, John Nix, who confirmed that Bratcher’s actions would in no way disqualify him from continuing to run.
Current Rutledge Mayor Spencer Knight called the blame for the oversight directly upon himself and said that the issue with the minutes will be resolved during the next meeting.
“This is completely my fault,” said Knight. “This all falls on me.”
Since Bratcher’s term on the city council was set to expire this December, no special election will need to be held to finish out his unexpired term. According to Rutledge’s charter, vacancies created within 12 months of the expiration of a term of office may be filled by the council appointing a successor.
“We’ll work on that next meeting,” said Knight concerning the naming of a successor for Bratcher’s seat.