Carbon Hill City Council considers resigning

The Carbon Hill City Council will meet tonight at 6, but one city leader will be noticeably absent.

An attorney for James Richardson says he is not expected to attend the meeting because he is sick. This is the first meeting since Richardson bonded out of jail. He is facing several charges including eleven charges of sex abuse, custodial sexual misconduct, harassment, and soliciting prostitution. Four jail inmates claimed he sexually assaulted them. Richardson denies any wrongdoing.{}

61 year old Richardson was arrested September 19 and was released from jail after posting a $250,000 property bond following his arrest on sex charges.{}



"Each city councilor in Carbon Hill came to Thursday night's meeting saying they had the full intent to resign their positions. At the end of the day, they decided it was best not to walk away, but they did make several key decisions including electing a new mayor pro tem and cutting power from Mayor Richardson's position. {}

The council's last meeting ended after just three minutes when city leaders decided they didn't want our cameras there.

"I was strongly advised not to let them in, which I did," Terry Mason, a council member said. "I apologize, but like I said, there were already two fights that had erupted outside the building."

"There are several folks that believe PeeWee should resign," Ronnie O'Rear, who lives in Carbon Hill said. "That the cameras would disappear as soon as he resigns and I feel that way too {}and I'm glad yall keep coming back because if you didn't it would be business as usual."

Councilman Mason told us, he spoke by phone with Richardson. He says all council members have asked him to resign but Richardson refuses.

"He said he's innocent and to work with him and I told him quite frankly, it's not up to me to determine whether you're guilty or not," Mason said.

The council appointed a new mayor pro tem, then cut Richardson's ability to spend more than $100 of city cash.

"I hope this puts to rest the fact that you people think we support the mayor and what he did," Mason said. "No. We do not."

"You can't keep appointing mayors," David Warren, a resident said. "Not the city council. The people of this community need to elect a new mayor."

The police chief also spoke - he says due to citywide cuts, safety is at stake.

"I can tell you why - y'all cut us back to one per shift," Chief Ron Colburn said. "You're going to get an officer killed or the people of Carbon Hill will suffer."

"I'm hoping that like God promises, when He puts you to the test you come out stronger," Mason said. "We hope to come out stronger."

At the next meeting, city councilors say they plan to take applications for the vacant city council seats.