Birmingham Mayor-Council Act forces new election of council president, president pro tem

Birmingham Mayor-Council Act forces new election of council president, president pro tem

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The controversial Birmingham Mayor-Council Act could shake up council leadership.

The act was signed into law by Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday.

It states that during the next meeting following the adoption of the Mayor-Council Act, the Birmingham City Council must elect a president and president pro-tem by voice vote. The council will also have to hold president and pro tem elections every two years instead of every four years.

This vote will take place May 10.

"In that two-year period you're going to do a lot of communicating with not only the mayor but with council members in order to keep that leadership. If you're elected and you have four years to do that you're going to have no accountability to anybody," Rep. Oliver Robinson said.

"I think that whatever happens on Tuesday will certainly be in the best interest of our neighborhoods and who we were elected to represent. Regardless of who is elected I think that the most important thing to remember and the thing I will continue to do is to fight for our residents and our communities," Austin said.

Robinson, who sponsored the bill in the legislature, says the law does let councilors retain the power to vote on boards and commissions they are appointed to. But it now gives the mayor the power to choose which councilor serves on each board and commission.

We spoke to two city councilors about the change and they are not happy with the changes.

One of those is current Birmingham City Council President Johnathan Austin says the act removes some checks and balances. Rafferty isn't pleased that the legislature has changed up the rules in Birmingham.

"In a state where they don't believe in a lot of home rule they have just given somebody excessive power that they really should not have. And so it's going to hurt the city," she said.

You can read the memo about the upcoming vote below:

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