Press Releases

Hands Off the Mayor-Council Act: News Conference Today – 10 a.m. – City Council Chambers

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                        Monday, March 7, 2016

Contact: Brittany Sharp

Phone: 205-721-5369

brittany.sharp@birminghamal.gov

 BIRMINGHAM, AL – Last week, the Birmingham City Council was hit with a bombshell. We learned that the Mayor was pushing to change the Mayor-Council Act. The changes would strip the public of access to local representation on the City Council. Since 1955, citizens have been able to express their community concerns through a person they elect to represent them on the City Council.

The public had no input into the decision to change the Mayor-Council Act through a proposed bill submitted to the State Legislature. Citizens were left out of the process – NO public hearings – Permanent changes with potentially damaging consequences. If anyone aspires to run for local office, this bill would tie their hands to actually do the “work of the people.” There are so many unanswered questions:

Who will fight to get citizens’ needs met in a timely manner?

Who will fight to include citizens’ priorities in the city budget?

Do citizens want all power concentrated into one office?

The proposed bill also would hijack the process of citizens’ service on city boards and agencies.

If this bill passes and is signed into law by the Governor, the proposed changes will take effect immediately. To STOP this and all similar bills of this kind from moving forward, please contact the Jefferson County Board of Registrars office at: (205) 325-5550 to find out who the State Representative is for your area. Once identified, call them immediately at: (334) 242-7600 to LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD. YOUR Voice and Your Vote Matters!

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

The Alabama State Legislature is being asked to consider a bill, to amend the 1955 Mayor-Council Act to change the City of Birmingham’s governmental structure by making law the following:

  1. The Mayor would have complete control of the city’s $403 million general fund budget and the $140.8 million capital fund budget (see page 11, section 4 of the on-line capital projects report)
  2. Removes all “checks and balances” established by the Mayor-Council Act
  3. The Mayor would appoint all Water Works Board members on behalf of the City without the Council’s input or approval
  4. The Mayor could hire ‘outside’ consultants as needed without Council approval
  5. The Mayor would approve all city contracts including consultant agreements
  6. The Mayor would approve all spending including the Council’s budget
  7. The Mayor would make all boards and agency appointments for the city
  8. No Council member would serve on any city board or agency while in office
  9. Prevent the Council from performing its elected duties:
  • To pass a balanced general fund and capital budget each fiscal year
  • To establish local laws governing the City of Birmingham
  • To advocate citizens’ needs through the authority vested in the Council

For more information, please contact Birmingham City Council Director of Public Information Brittany Sharp at (205) 721-5369 or brittany.sharp@birminghamal.gov.