Ken Gulley defeats Ed May for Bessemer mayor - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Ken Gulley defeats Ed May for Bessemer mayor

By Jonathan Hardison

BESSEMER, AL (WBRC) - Ken Gulley easily defeated Ed May to become the new mayor of Bessemer, becoming one of several candidates who defeated incumbents in Tuesday's runoff elections.

Gulley received 4,144 votes, or 73 percent of the vote, versus May, the incumbent mayor, who only received 1,543 votes, or 27 percent.

Gulley defeated 2-term incumbent Ed May Tuesday night in an election that was not without significant drama. Acting Bessemer City Clerk and Election Manager Travis Brooks says he was fired by Mayor Ed May Monday night, just hours before the runoff election between May and challenger Kenneth Gulley was set to begin.

Brooks tells FOX6 News Mayor May asked him to take absentee ballots to a group of voters who May said had requested absentee ballots but had not received them. Brooks says he told May he was "uncomfortable with that" because Brooks believes that's against state law unless the voters in question are illiterate or handicapped to the point of being bedridden, something Brooks says was not the case for some or all of the voters in question.

Brooks says May told him "I'm giving you a directive," Brooks reiterated his obejctions, and then says May told him "you're relieved of your duties." Brooks says he protested, but the mayor asked a police officer to escort Brooks off of city property, and take his set of keys, the only set that opened the door to Brooks' office. Inside Brooks' office were the absentee ballots collected so far, and other sensitive election materials.

Brooks says he went to the Jefferson County Personnel Board Tuesday morning and was told Mayor May hadn't followed the proper procedures, and that he (brooks) should return to work. Brooks says he returned to city hall at 11am and met with mayor May, who then reinstated Brooks as election manager and handed him back his keys.

Brooks says the election ran smoothly, but he's concerned that he doesn't know if anyone accessed his office where the ballots and election materials were stored between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Mayor May told FOX6 News "He was never fired, I did not fire him. There is a personnel matter that is at issue, I never discuss personnel matters. If they're discussed if it gets to that point before the Jefferson County personnel board. I did ask him for the keys because I was concerned based on the discussion we had had and some things he said, I was concerned that he might go back in there. I asked him for the keys, I will not go any further in discussing a personnel matter. I left, when they did, I went home, I thought a little while later because I had heard some things. So asked the police chief, directed him to have an officer watching city hall all night. The only people that I'm aware of that went in, from what I was told, were 3 council members. Those are the only people that I'm aware of that went in."

When asked if he was concerned about the validity of the elections, May replied "No. Absolutely not, I lost."

Gulley told FOX6 News he would've legally challenged the election results if he had lost, but since he won, he's looking forward.

"We must find a way for mayor and council to work together," Gulley said. "Currently we have a dysfunctional government, it just does not work. And unfortunately when government does not work, the citizens are the ones who suffer. We look forward to getting in there and working on a parternship with some of the good people I see that has been elected as well, so we look forward to that challenge."

Tuesday's runoff elections also included three city council races in Bessemer.  

In District 2, Sherrina Rice defeated Chester Porter

In District 5, Ron Marshall defeated incumbent Albert Soles

In District 7, Cleo King defeated incumbent Earl Cochran, Sr.

For complete vote information, please visit

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