State representative looks to change Jeffco leadership

LEEDS, AL (WBRC) - Changing the face of Jefferson County government is the intent of a Republican lawmaker from Leeds. Representative Owen Drake plans to pre-file a bill to setup a new county government.

Drake's House Bill 687 will setup a five percent county council. There will be a county chief executive elected county wide and have veto power over the council. A county manager will be appointed by the chief executive. Drake presented his case Monday to the Eastwood Irondale Civitan Club.

"The county commission is the only form of government that has legislative and executive form of government in the same body. Not a good combination. Not what our forefathers saw," Owen Drake said.
         
Former County Commissioner Larry Langford was recently convicted of corruption charges. It has been the latest in a string of former commissioners accused of a crime.

"I believe that. Anything the legislative body does must be checked by the executive branch and will be doubled checked," Drake said.
              
Others are supporting Drake's bill."There is no check and balances. Everything is divided up among commissioners and they are over that part. An executive officer would be over everything for the whole county," Tommy Joe Alexander, Irondale Mayor, said.
          
Drake's bill has failed in the legislature in the past, but with the county's continued financial woes, supporters say county voters are demanding action.

"There needs to be a change. There has got to be a change. That is what they say," Alexander said.