HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Huntsville City Councilman Devyn Keith was removed as chair of the finance committee and his request to travel to Washington, D.C. was denied during this week’s regular council meeting.
City Council President John Meredith made the announcement to remove Keith as chair during Thursday night’s meeting, saying Councilwoman Jennie Robinson would replace him.
Keith’s request for $2,100 to travel to Washington, D.C. on a scheduled trip with two other council members in March was also denied.
When Keith motioned for the funds to be approved, the rest of the council was silent. Meredith still asked again, but concluded the motion saying, “I cannot second because he has exceeded his travel budget.”
Keith argued the decision, citing similar situations regarding the budget in past years:
“This has never been an issue until recent times,” said Keith. “And that respectfully, as I stated before, the colleague [Robinson] that spoke earlier about budget has approved twice any change in budget (for a council member’s travel). But it is again, understandable that in the public opinion, it is easy to be guilty before proven innocent. And it’s unfortunate that my colleagues are trending toward that perspective.”
Meredith responded to Keith, saying, “This, in my opinion, has nothing to do with an ongoing situation. This has to do with being over budget.”
According to AL.com, Keith believes both actions are connected to theft charges he is facing, saying he is being “excommunicated.”
You can watch the entire interaction below:
During a regular meeting held earlier this month, Keith addressed the elephant in the room when he publicly apologized to city employees, family and the community after being arrested for several theft charges.
“What you are looking at is the maturing of a man,” he said.
The District 1 Councilman is facing a total of four fourth-degree theft charges for incidents that the Madison County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) said took place at separate Walmart locations. Fourth-degree theft is a class A misdemeanor in the state of Alabama, punishable upon conviction with up to one year in jail and a maximum $6,000 fine.
The situation began on Feb. 2 when Keith was arrested and charged with fourth-degree theft. HPD said officers had been called to officers were dispatched to 6140 University Drive just before 1 p.m. on an unrelated call. While on the scene, officers were alerted to a shoplifting suspect, who was later identified as Keith.
He was first elected to the Huntsville City Council in October 2016 and was re-elected in 2020. It’s not immediately clear how this will affect Keith’s future on the council. It is a misdemeanor charge, but elected officials stay in office even pending felony cases.
An initial court appearance for those theft charges is scheduled for March 15.