Press Releases

Birmingham City Council Continues Its Efforts to Follow State Laws

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                   Thursday May 21, 2015

Contact: Brittany Sharp

Phone: 205-721-5369

brittany.sharp@birminghamal.gov

 Council Standing By the Executive Session Guidelines as Outlined in the Open Meetings Act 

BIRMINGHAM, AL- The Birmingham City Council is a firm believer in abiding by State laws. Recently the City Council received clarifications regarding when executive sessions are appropriate to ensure that councilors were following the law as it is structured in the Alabama Opens Meetings Act. Section 36-25A-7(a)(3) Code of Alabama defines an executive session as”That portion of a meeting of a governmental body from which the public is excluded for one or more of the reasons prescribed in Section 36- 25A-7(a), See §36-25A-2(2), Code of Alabama 1975.” It further states that, “Since the executive session is authorized as a private meeting of the governing body, the discussions of an executive session may be protected by the governing body limiting access to those persons determined by the governing body to be necessary to provide information during any portion of the executive session.”

In response to recent allegations that the City Council may have not abided by State law, President Johnathan Austin said: “We did our job in following the guidelines that have been outlined in this code; Our intentions were to get a better understanding on an issue that is going to be very costly to the city, and we made sure that in receiving clarification on that issue we followed the state code.”

The Council has been working diligently to research the reasons for the overruns on the Regions Baseball Park project and the potential litigation arising from the developers’ claims against the City. That research has included several meetings with both city officials and representatives from Robins & Morton, A.G. Gaston Construction, and Corporate Realty. The most recent meeting was moved to an executive session so that Councilors could receive further clarification on the issue, including the status of settlement negotiations. Both Thomas Bentley, an assistant city attorney, and Freddy Rubio, the Council’s attorney were present for this session. Staff members from both the Mayor’s office and the City Council were not present for this session.

Mr. Rubio called the meeting and later stated, “the Alabama Open Meetings Act allows for an executive session when a controversy is likely to be litigated.”

For media inquiries please contact the Birmingham City Council Director of Public Information Brittany Sharp at 205.254.2036 or brittany.sharp@birminghamal.gov.