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Huntsville city council tasked with replacing school board member

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The city of Huntsville is navigating some unfamiliar territory. At Tuesday night's school board meeting, Pam Hill, who serves as the representative from District Five, announced her resignation. And that means someone will have to fulfill the remaining 15 months of her term.

The Huntsville City Council is tasked with the job of appointing someone to serve the remainder of Hill's term. It has been more than a decade since a school board member resigned and that fact is creating a unique challenge.

"Something happens to you when you think you're near death, and it changes your priorities, and my priorities now are to be with my 6 grandchildren and to help raise them as long as I can," Pam Hill said.

District Five school board member Pam Hill announced Tuesday night that her resignation will be effective May 24. Her term is set to expire in the fall of 2020.

It has been 11 years since a school board member resigned before their term was up. In 2008, Dr. James Dawson resigned due to health problems. His wife was appointed to serve the remainder of his term. He passed away in 2009.

It's been so long since this has happened, city leaders aren't sure how to move forward.

"We will be looking into any prior instances of this happening in the past and we'll be looking at the applicable state and local laws and determining the law in regard to this situation and then, of course, local council procedure," said Trey Riley, Huntsville City Attorney.

The City of Huntsville's legal team is consulting with School Board attorneys. They are also conferring with Council President Devyn Keith and Council Members to hear their thoughts and concerns.

Riley says it's an important decision and because of that, the council will not rush moving forward.

"I'm sure that the council will take this very seriously and they will make a studied decision and will select a good candidate to fill this vacancy," he said.

It is too early to tell if the council will be able to fill Hill's position before her resignation date. Riley says once the council is advised on the legal findings, they will announce details and timeline on the selection process.

Huntsville school board president, Beth Wilder says the school board will still have a quorum if Hill is not immediately replaced by her successor. This means the board will be able to function normally and still be able to vote.

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