As of Wednesday, May 28, Earline Martin-Harris was still listed as District 2 representative for the Prichard City Council.
Martin-Harris resigned on May 21, just moments before a trial challenging her residency. The controversial former councilor sat down with Fox10News Anchor Lenise Ligon about that decision. In a nutshell, Martin Harris says she’s not going anywhere.
“I do feel at this point that I have been exiled of the city that I truly love…but I will still be there fighting for the citizens,” Martin-Harris explained.
While no longer in the political arena, Martin-Harris says she will always be there for the citizens of Prichard. She forfeited her post as Prichard council president. The abrupt move came in light of documents obtained by the Mobile County District Attorney’s office. The documents showed Martin-Harris owned a home in Daphne and that her children went to school there.
According to the law, council members must live in the city or district they represent. however, Martin-Harris defends her decisions.
“Just because a person builds a house in a particular city doesn’t mean that they actually live there. I’ve never moved my residency out of the City of Prichard and I have no intention of moving anytime soon.”
Martin-Harris told Fox10News that the home was for her husband and children. She would eventually move there too, when she retired. But when pressed her about the message she was sending in choosing another district over the one she’s supposed to be dedicated to…she cited privacy reasons.
“When you are a public figure every decision you make every Thursday is going to negatively impact someone or it’s going to positively impact someone. When I was first elected my children were two and three years old and I never wanted to put them in a school area in which I represented…just to keep down on a whole bunch of confusion,” said Martin-Harris.
So why resign?
Martin-Harris said members of the Prichard City Council receive $7,000 annual in salary. She had two years left under her term, which would have meant $14,000. He legal fees were estimating $20,000.
“It was best for the citizens. It was best for my family…when you look at it…hey, the state of Alabama’s purse goes further than my purse, she said.” “It was much easier to just resign because in the long run I would have lost financially. I would have won the case because I have never moved out of Prichard, so I would have won but at what cost?”
Martin-Harris says she doesn’t see herself running for public office in Daphne, She says the the people of Prichard need her more.
At this point she is moving by focusing on her restaurant in the city.
Incidentally, a special election to replace her will likely be held in August.