In its ongoing struggle to maintain a full council, the Town of Frankford is once again down a councilperson, after the resignation of Elizabeth Carpenter, who was serving as council president, on Friday, Dec. 11.
Councilwoman Joanne Bacon confirmed Carpenter’s resignation, stating it was given verbally and stated that Carpenter was leaving for “personal reasons.” Carpenter declined to comment to the Coastal Point about her resignation.
Carpenter was sworn in to the council by Bacon on Sept. 5, appointed to a seat left vacant by a prior council resignation. Her term was to expire in 2017.
In the last 12 months, nine people have left paid or unpaid positions serving the Town of Frankford.
Former Police Chief William Dudley left the Town last December, retiring outside the area, followed by former officer Nate Hudson, who took a position in South Bethany. In March, the Town received resignations from former Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader and part-time clerk Marilyn Hobbs.
Then, in August, Jesse Truitt and Velicia Melson both resigned from their seats on the council within a week of each other. Terry Truitt (Jesse Truitt’s wife), who had served as the town administrator for more than a decade, resigned in September. That resignation was followed by that of Carpenter, who served on the council for just three months.
Although Charles Shelton has not resigned from his position on the Frankford Town Council, he too has been absent from council meetings, since Aug. 21. Shelton had previously stated he would not be attending meetings due to the council’s actions related to the appointment of Carpenter and Marty Presley to fill Jesse Truitt’s and Melson’s vacant seats, which he deemed to be illegal.
At a special meeting held on Aug. 26, Bacon and Councilwoman Pam Davis had met to fill the two vacancies. Shelton was not in attendance.
According to the council’s own Rules of Procedure, Rule 5.2, “the presence of no less than three (3) members of the agency shall constitute a quorum”; however, the meeting was still called to order.
An email from Schrader explained that a vote of all three sitting council members would be required to approve anything due to the fact that there were only three council members at the time.
However, Bacon turned to Rule 10.1, “Any rule of the agency may be changed or suspended by the approval of a majority of all the members of the Agency,” and moved to suspend the Town’s Rules of Procedure, specifying that “three affirmative votes shall be required to approve any matter within the jurisdiction of the agency.”
The vote was 2-0, with Shelton absent; however, Bacon continued the meeting, and she and Davis voted 2-0 to appoint Carpenter and Marty Presley to the vacant seats.
The Town’s new solicitor, Chad Lingenfelder did not return calls to the Coastal Point. It is unclear if the Town will address the validity of the previous appointments, or how it plans to address the new vacancy.
According to the Frankford town charter, Section 10, in the event of a resignation, the council will fill a council seat vacancy for the remainder of the entire term.
“In the event of any such vacancy, a special meeting shall be called by the secretary, adhering to the notice requirements hereinbefore mentioned therefore, which special meeting held for the purpose of filling such vacancy shall be held within 45 days.”
As of Coastal Point’s Wednesday news deadline no special meeting had been scheduled to address the resignation. The Frankford Town Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Jan. 4 at 7 p.m.