BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Former Jefferson County Commissioner William Bell officially resigned Tuesday as commissioner. Later in the day, Bell was sworn in as the new mayor of Birmingham.
Before the Bell resignation, the Jefferson County Election Commission set a special election to fill Bell's seat. The election will be June 1st, the same day as the primary elections.
Candidates must get 100 signatures to qualify for the special election. Qualifying ends May 11th. Candidates must qualify for two different ballots, the special election and primary ballots if the candidates want to serve the next four year term. Jefferson County Probate Judge Alan King says preparations will be made to deal with any confusion."We will train the poll worker and train them in such a way. We have done this before and it worked out without any glitches. A lot is in preparation and training," King said.
King says it will be cheaper for taxpayers by having the special elections on the same day as the primaries. "Elections are expensive. By virtue, running the election on the same day as the June primary, there is no additional expense incurred," King said.
With Bell gone and the special election at least four months off, this will leave only four county commissioners on a five member commission. There is a potential for gridlock over controversial issues. "There are county commissions that have staggered terms in Alabama just because of this. You don't wipeout the whole group at one time," Shelia Smoot, Jefferson Co. Commissioner said.
But others disagree. "Most of the time we don't have issues down here. We are adults. We know the business of the county has to go forward. We are going to do that. We are going to come together," Bobby Humphryes, Jefferson Co. Commissioner said.