County commissioner, residents react to Holmes' comments

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - In front of cameras and microphones, State Representative Alvin Holmes spoke out against some white members of the City Council and County Commission.

Holmes said the comments and actions taken by members like Charles Jinright and Reed Ingram regarding the Montgomery Public Schools superintendent search were out of line.

"They're always accusing me, Alvin Holmes, of bringing up the race question. They're the ones bringing up race," Holmes said.

Thursday night, Commissioner Ingram responded, telling WSFA 12 News in a phone interview that his involvement in the superintendent selection process is anything but racist.

"I have not made any racial comments," Ingram said.

"I just want what's best for the children of Montgomery County [. . .] whether the candidate be white or black."

The desire to visit the candidate's school systems--echoed by Ingram and Chamber of Commerce members--was another point targeted by Holmes.

"If they do organizing--selecting people to go--they'll select people thinking along their lines," Holmes exclaimed.

Ingram, however, says traveling cross country wasn't his idea.

"I was invited one time, along with [Commission Chairman] Elton Dean, and if [the board members] want to include us, that's fine.  If they don't, I don't want to go, and neither does any other commissioner if they're not wanted," Ingram explained.

If Ingram does go, Holmes says he'll bring West Montgomery residents along for the ride.  He also threatened to stage protests and bring well-known Civil Rights activists to town.

Residents say all parties should leave race out of the picture.

"It's not a racial issue. It's a child education issue," said Jeanine Vercelli of Montgomery.

"We're now in 2009.  We need to go forward, because the more we live behind, we're going to stay behind," explained Mary Williams, also of Montgomery.

WSFA 12 News spoke with County Commission Chairman Elton Dean on Thursday.

He says it's time for the community to be united, and he also tells us the Commission will fully support the candidate selected by the board.

©2009 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.