This week, the Fort Payne City Council virtually interviewed several candidates to fill vacancies on the boards of directors of the Fort Payne Improvement Authority and the Fort Payne Water Board.

Kenneth Larson and John T. Davis interviewed seeking reappointment to the FPIA board. Both shared their thoughts on progress that the utility has made, particularly regarding improved relations with the City of Fort Payne since Mike Shirey became the general manager.

Larson, who has served as board president, said he wants to continue on the board because of encouragement his father gave him when he was younger to serve his community.

Davis interviewed for either board. He said the power board needs to work toward moving service lines on the side of Lookout Mountain that connect to the substation behind the old FPIA building and noted that he isn’t sure what will be done with that structure, although conversations about it have happened.

Terry Camp interviewed for reappointment to the Water Board, where he has served as chairman. Camp said his involvement with Fort Payne water goes way back to his upbringing. Camp told Council members that replacing Executive Director Paul Nail when he retires will be one of the biggest challenges facing the water board. He praised Nail for doing a good job and having excellent crews. Another big task facing that board will be providing the infrastructure to provide sufficient supplies of water to potential new companies moving into the area as an element of economic development.

Former City Council member Randall Ham also interviewed for the FPIA and/or water board. He spoke about his desire to serve the community and his civic-oriented activities, including a prison ministry to which he contributes.

David Gulledge also applied to serve on a utility board but was unable to attend the virtual interviews, according to Fort Payne City Council President Walter Watson. Gulledge also applied for a previous vacancy on the DeKalb-Cherokee Gas District board.

The city council recently clarified its policy on board appointments, giving citizens opportunities to express interest and apply for multiple boards at one time then interview for each board individually with a reset of the applicant pool starting with each new year. Previously, council members did not conduct new interviews for other board vacancies if they had previously interviewed someone for a different board spot. The council wants to open the process up to the public and provide more opportunities for other people to compete for limited board seats, while also giving consideration to the qualifications and experience of those who have already served.

The city council may vote on the appointments at its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 12:30 p.m. The virtual meeting will be live streamed on FPTV.

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