City council expects smooth transition after Langford verdict

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - After hearing of Larry Langford's guilty verdict in his federal corruption bribery trial, city councilors are looking ahead to the future.

Acting-Mayor Carole Smitherman said in a statement, "It is with a heavy heart that I assume the duties of acting mayor. This is a sad day for my friend, Larry Langford, his family, our city and the state. Birmingham is a great city known for her ability to use her resources and her people to rise above adversity. Birmingham will prevail."

Smitherman will serve as mayor for the time being. Within the next 5 days, the Election Commission will set the date of a special election to fill the mayor's seat.

City councilors had a variety of reactions to the verdict. Some said they were surprised, others were disappointed. Valerie Abbott said she hopes this news doesn't affect city business, "I expect it to be business as usual, I don't expect there to be any change in how business is conducted in city, we will have a change in the head administration, but I don't think it will affect business or slow things down."

Councilor Johnathan Austin said he is hopeful the council will build on what Langford has done for the city. "He has laid groundwork to continue to move city forward, bringing us into the 21st century. We will continue to do that as a council, now more than ever is time for us to come together and be united."

Thursday, Smitherman will meet with the executive staff of the mayor's office and other city employees. She said she is hopeful that it will be a smooth transition.