Cherokee County Commission Chairman/Probate Judge Melvyn Salter announced his intentions to seek such a resolution during the work session prior to the Dec. 14 regular session of the commission.
Salter said he has considered this proposal before he assumed office and after he assumed office.
“As far as I am concerned, it is in the best interests of the county,” said d Salter. “Most probate judges, I think, would like to have these offices divided. There are times when there is a conflict on cases that come before me as probate judge and I have to recuse myself. I don’t like to do that.”
And on the county commission side, Salter said, there are several issues that need to be addressed.
“We have sewage issues,” said Salter. “We have the 100-year flood plain and FEMA regulations. We need to have regular attendance at meetings in Montgomery on issues affecting the growth of our county. One person cannot do justice to either one of these jobs.”
Currently, Cherokee County is one of only 16 counties in Alabama that combines the probate judge/commission chairman positions. And one of these counties, Lee County, has already decided to bring the issue of separating the two counties to a vote, Salter said.
Salter said the commission would need to consider the resolution in January. If adopted by the commission, the resolution would be presented to Cherokee County Representative Richard Lindsey who would present the proposal to the Alabama Legislature. If approved by the Alabama Legislature, the issue of separating the two positions would be placed on the ballot of the 2010 General Election.
If voters approve the separation, it would be the first time in 21 years the two positions have been separated, Salter said.
“I feel that we have been at a disadvantage by not being able to have these two positions,” said Salter. “I do plan to present the resolution to the commission for them to approve or disapprove. I’m just asking to give the people an opportunity to vote.”