BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Acting Birmingham Mayor Carole Smitherman has clear plans in the future. "On the 24th I will seek election as president of the new city council. Whoever shall be elected as sitting president shall become acting mayor," says Smitherman.
Smitherman says she has the backing of the city legal department that she can vote on the next president of the council."Mayor Smitherman has to be sworn in as a councilor therefore can participate in the selection of a new council president," says Thomas Bentley, acting city attorney.
But, the Speaker Pro Tem of the Alabama House of Representatives and a former city attorney, Demetrius Newton disagrees."That is a grey area. My understanding of the mayor council act she cannot act as both mayor and as council person," Newton said.
Newton does not believe the mayor council act allows Smitherman to vote on the next president while being acting mayor. Other Birmingham lawmakers say the mayor council act is not clear on succession."We need to go back. Take a look at the mayor council act and totally re-write it. Spell out specific."Representative Mary Moore said.
Smitherman says there are various possibilities,including resigning as acting mayor until the council elects a new president. The president will again become acting mayor until a special election is held. Smitherman says she intends to vote on the next president and look after her district."I'm still an elected member of our present city council. I'm serving as mayor as part of the current city council team."Smitherman said.