Thelma Cottrell will be filling in the sixth and final seat of the Auburn City Council. Cottrell was unanimously voted in at a special called meeting held Thursday, Jan. 19. The city had two seats unoccupied due to lack of interest in the November 2016 election. This was the first time in decades the city did not have enough candidates to file.
According to Kentucky Statute, if one or more vacancies on a legislative body occur in a way that one or more members remain seated, the remaining members shall within 30 days fill the vacancies one at a time, giving each new appointee reasonable notice of his/her selection as will enable him/her to meet and act with the remaining members in making further appointments until all vacancies are filled. If vacancies occur in a way that all seats become vacant, the Governor shall appoint qualified persons to fill the vacancies sufficient to constitute a quorum.
Ricky Heflin was selected to fill one of the seats earlier on Monday, Jan. 9 at the first scheduled Auburn City Council meeting. Heflin, along with Rex Evans, Bobby Price, Steve Montgomery and Claude Tisdale, voted in Cottrell.
Michael Elliott, Tamme Gregory and Ricky Woodward were others who showed interest in serving as well.
“It is a very strict procedure covered by Statute,” said Auburn Mayor Mike Hughes. “We had to wait until January because we could not technically fill a vacancy until we had one, or in this instance two.”
Mayor Hughes said he was happy to have all the seats filled quickly. It’s better to have a full council, he said, and better decisions happen when you have more people giving input.
“The council did a great job,” Hughes said. “Ricky has been in our community around six years and brings a new outlook to our council. He sees things from a different perspective and will have some ideas that are beneficial to our city. Thelma has been on the council before, and was a good council woman. I look forward to working with her again. I feel fortunate as a mayor to have a good council.”
Cottrell comes with experience as she served over two years ago for five months when voted in to take the place of Steve Montgomery, who had stepped down. Cottrell has also run for the Auburn Council in years past but lost.
“I meant to run this last election as a write-in, but I couldn’t get the paperwork done in time,” said Cottrell, who came to the Auburn Mayor informing him she would serve if needed.
“I had discussed with him (Hughes) to have my name put in the pot to serve,” Cottrell said. “It wasn’t a surprise when they called me. This is something I have always wanted to do. I would like the city to grow and prosper.”
Cottrell, who has only been in office for four days, says she knows what she would like for the city’s future.
“I would like new stores to come and more businesses to come into Auburn. I would like tourism to grow and Auburn to draw crowds,” Cottrell said.
Born in Auburn, Cottrell believes she can help the town she calls home. The only time she left is when she married the late Anthony Cottrell and moved to Bowling Green. She moved back to Auburn in 2007. She and her husband have three children, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Cottrell, who is 65-years-old, loves photography and using her metal detector. Before retiring she served as a telephone operator.
“To me Auburn is the citizens and the citizens are Auburn. “They need to let us know what they want. We run the city, but you have to work together as a whole to make things happen. I work for the citizens,” said Cottrell.
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.