Fairhope mayor, council work on improving relationships

‘Dining diplomacy’ sessions begun by mayor

By Cliff McCollum
Posted 5/18/17

Detente may be breaking out in Fairhope between Mayor Karin Wilson and the Fairhope City Council, as both camps mentioned steps being taken to help repair relationships during last week’s city …

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Fairhope mayor, council work on improving relationships

‘Dining diplomacy’ sessions begun by mayor

Posted

Detente may be breaking out in Fairhope between Mayor Karin Wilson and the Fairhope City Council, as both camps mentioned steps being taken to help repair relationships during last week’s city council meeting.

Unlike several recent meetings, there was no outbursts or negative comments from the mayor, council or even members of the public during the May 8 meeting.

Wilson told the audience she had met with Councilmen Jimmy Conyers, Robert Brown and Jack Burrell over the past few days over meals to talk and work on relations.

“I told them ‘Look, we have 3.5 or more years together’ and I’ve talked a lot about my vision and what I would like to see,” Wilson said. “What are your passions? What do you want to accomplish?”

A photo of the meeting with Burrell was posted on social media and several commenters made remarks that the photo was just a staged photo op, with another going so far as to tell Wilson to “Watch your food.”

Burrell said his 1.5 hour conversation with the mayor included discussions about various matters before the city and he was glad the mayor had reached out to try to make the lunch happen and was much more than just a photo op.

“The relationship is going in the right direction,” Burrell said. “People found a reason to criticize the photo of us, but I appreciate that. We have better things to do than photo ops.”

Wilson agreed.

“That is the last thing I would want to do,” Wilson said.

Confers said his meeting with Wilson went similarly well.

“We had a great time,” Conyers said. “It was a good opportunity to develop relationships.”

While the era of good feelings did seem more pronounced during the meeting, it did not fully extend to some decisions made by the council that night.

The council still unanimously opposed an effort from Wilson to name two new members to the Fairhope Airport Authority, rejecting the nominations of Blake Waller and Kristine Kieran to replace existing board members Pam Caudill and Vince Boothe.

For several weeks, Conyers has asked for a compromise that would see one of Wilson’s nominees confirmed and one of the existing members keep their seat, but consensus for that compromise is still lacking.

The council also voted to approve an ordinance that would prevent Wilson or any other person from adding items to council agendas for 60 days following a defeat by council vote.