Mayor, councilor exchange jabs over reports

Birmingham Mayor William Bell fires back over accusations he leaked information to the media (May 18, 2010, WBRC video)
Birmingham Mayor William Bell fires back over accusations he leaked information to the media (May 18, 2010, WBRC video)

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham Mayor William Bell and City Councilor Kim Rafferty exchanged verbal jabs Tuesday over the way the city's budget woes were communicated.

Councilor Rafferty, during Tuesday's city council meeting, accused Mayor Bell of keeping the city council out of the loop on money matters.

"This is the third time you've preempted the council to present something publicly, whether it be to the city employees or to the newspaper," Rafferty said, refering to recent announcements about budget solutions, the Westin Hotel, and yesterday's announcement to city employees regarding layoffs and pay cuts.

Mayor Bell quickly fired back, denying he leaked the information to the press.

"Ms. Rafferty, look at me," Bell said. "I did not go to the press with any information. Someone else leaked that information."

Bell said he and his staff debated whether or not to come to the council first regarding layoffs, salary and budget cuts, but Bell said in the end, it was his job as the city's chief administrator to communicate directly with city employees.

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