New council to vote on council president and mayor

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - At midnight Monday, the city of Birmingham will be without a mayor for 9 hours.

Interim Mayor Carole Smitherman's term will end at midnight and the new interim mayor won't be named until Tuesdasy morning. That's after the new council swears in and votes for a new council president.

That person will take over as mayor until the special election in 2 weeks.

Sources confirm to FOX6 News that Council President and Interim Mayor Smitherman's main competition will come from Councilor Roderick Royal.

Newly-elected councilor, Kim Rafferty, told FOX6 News' Scott Richards that she's voting for Royal. She believes Royal may have a total of 4 of the 9 votes promised to him --  it could take 5 to win.

The city councilors FOX6 News interviewed refused to say who they are voting for on Tuesday.

FOX6 Political Analyst Natalie Davis says the 2 candidates have very different styles.

"She (Smitherman) is a quiet voice, she's a consensus-builder, she tries real heard to reach out to everybody, almost to the point of being inefficient," Davis said. "I mean those council meetings do tend to go on forever and ever and ever."

"He (Royal) knows a lot about city government and details like this project versus that project versus another. He does like the sound of his own voice, and you wonder how that would play if he were to become council president."

Davis says councilors are asking themselves several questions as they consider their vote.

"How do I get along with this person? Can I work with this person? Can we get things done together? That's one side of it. There's also a lot of wheeling and dealing as you know," Davis said.

If Royal wins, he would be the 3rd mayor in 3 weeks. And since he is not running for the job permanently, the city could have 4 mayors in 6 weeks if someone other than Smitherman wins December 8th's special election.

"That combination of events makes it look a little strange, and maybe to some, silly," Davis said. "But it'll be a little funny footnote in the history of the city of Birmingham."

The other part of this equation is the ongoing mayor's race.

Councilor Steven Hoyt is running against Valerie Abbott for the president pro tem seat, but he is also a candidate against Smitherman for the mayor's job.

Several political analysts are also curious to see if mayoral candidate Patrick Cooper has an effect on some council members votes.

Cooper supported Smitherman's opponent Sheila Tyson in the District 6 race this summer, and he is seen by many analysts as a front runner in the mayor's race.

The council will be sworn in at 9 o'clock Tuesday morning.

Their first official action will be to vote for a new council president.