By Dale Jones
What is going on in Birmingham? Yes, I am aware that this publication is the Trussville Tribune, but as a lifelong resident of Jefferson County, I recognize that what happens in Birmingham does have ramifications to the surrounding municipalities. When news events happen here in Trussville, or in Hoover, or in Graysville, people from out of state recognize it as having happened in “Birmingham.”
How many times have you been on an out-of-state vacation and when someone asked you where you were from, you answered “Birmingham.” We’ve all done it.
So when my buddy over in Mississippi asked me yesterday about what was going on between the mayor and the city council, I knew immediately that he wasn’t talking about Trussville.
Yesterday, Jefferson County legislators attempted to clarify the details of a proposed bill amending the Mayor-Council Act, which outlines how the city is governed. Many support the efforts to bring more clarification to the roles of the mayor and the council, others, including two city council members, are completely against the measures.
Rep. Oliver Robinson, D-Birmingham, led the hearing and is taking the reigns of this efforts to amend the act which was initially adopted back in the early 1960’s.
The proposed amendment includes items such as the council would elect a president and president pro-tem every two years, they would be required to seek written approval from the mayor when adopting ordinances that create, change, assign additional functions to, or abolish offices, departments, or agencies. In addition, the council would have to get written approval from the mayor to insert or strike new items of expenditures after a public hearing, and appointment authority would be divided between the mayor and council for members of certain boards and agencies.
Some council members are upset because legislators took it upon themselves to put this amendment together without consulting them.
Some citizens feel that the amendment gives too much power to the council. Others believe the power leans in favor of the mayor.
The bottom line is this – When my buddy in Mississippi, or your friend in Atlanta, or my family along the Gulf Coast flips on the evening news tonight, what they will see is yet another meeting with Birmingham and state officials going nowhere. We may live in Trussville, but when mess like this happens in Birmingham, it does affect us all!