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kayman

Jeffco County Commission

Creation of County Manager positon   12 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Jefferson County have a county manager?

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27 posts in this topic

Jefferson County Commission enforces hiring freeze due to employee pension buyout program

Freeze on 956 jobs to pay for buyback

This could cause a plethora of delays of county projects and maintanence for roads, sewers, and transportation. The cause of all this the sheriff department employees that opted out of the county pension back in the 1980's want back and the state law rules that the county must let them. :angry:

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Freeze on 956 jobs to pay for buyback

This could cause a plethora of delays of county projects and maintanence for roads, sewers, and transportation. The cause of all this the sheriff department employees that opted out of the county pension back in the 1980's want back and the state law rules that the county must let them. :angry:

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County manager not top priority

The current Jeffco Commission President Bettye Fine Collins as well fellow Republican Commissioners Jim Carns and Bobby Humphryes all campaigned on the platform to create a County Manager position to handle the county departements. Now they are back-peddling and saying that it's not top priority (like we have seen this before). Their argument is they still support the idea of a county manager but they want to get the finances and operations under control. Isn't this point of having a county manager to handle finances and operations? :rolleyes:

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I think the proposal, which I think was Gary White's, makes a lot of sense. I think the county would be well served with an administrator as well as a director of development empowered to initiate discussions with businesses and developers on behalf of the county under certain policies. It's discouraging to have elected commissioners telling a CEO one thing and then have his colleagues tell him the opposite a month later. Even when they come to a deal, it's still a bad practice.

The biggest thing I would do, though, is change the way commissioners are elected. I think they need to run at-large rather than by district. The county's population is balanced enough to still empower minorities without creating minority-controlled districts. These divisions are clearly harmful to progressive government as they encourage the re-election of those most capable of punishing or bad-mouthing other representatives.

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I think the proposal, which I think was Gary White's, makes a lot of sense. I think the county would be well served with an administrator as well as a director of development empowered to initiate discussions with businesses and developers on behalf of the county under certain policies. It's discouraging to have elected commissioners telling a CEO one thing and then have his colleagues tell him the opposite a month later. Even when they come to a deal, it's still a bad practice.

The biggest thing I would do, though, is change the way commissioners are elected. I think they need to run at-large rather than by district. The county's population is balanced enough to still empower minorities without creating minority-controlled districts. These divisions are clearly harmful to progressive government as they encourage the re-election of those most capable of punishing or bad-mouthing other representatives.

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The biggest thing I would do, though, is change the way commissioners are elected. I think they need to run at-large rather than by district.

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Setting aside the minority representation concerns that would doom any such effort, it would replace a House election model (by district) and replace it with a Senate one (at large by state). Each commissioner would have 1 million constituents (for example), rather than 100,000 (for example). There's no way that won't be seen across the board as diminished representation. It will increase the cost of campaigning and lead to more political advertising. Congratulations, you just united the population of Jefferson County and their representatives - in opposition to your proposal. DOA I'm afraid.

Term limits and non-partisan (and ideally, non-racial) district reapportionment, however, I could support and might solve some of your concerns.

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The issue of representation is neither as dire, nor as exagerrated as you make it out to be. (Of course, I can't speak to how it would be perceived, and you could be right on there). The population is about 665,000, meaning that you can either have a 1/133,000th stake in electing one commissioner or a 1/665,000th stake in five separate races. They add up to the same amount of representation. As for disenfranchisement, the county is about 60/40 on racial lines, but voted about 50/50 between political parties in the recent election. So an at-large candidate wouldn't be able to discount any major constituency and would thus be encouraged to support policies with a broad consensus. The current practice allows individual commissioners to work against the interest of 80% of the county as long as he's bringing home enough bacon (or spinning factionalism well enough) to get re-elected.

Progress for the county, in my view (as well as the views of such outside observers as the CEO of Alabama Power and the Governor of the State), depends upon seeking shared goals and reducing infighting. My suggestion is meant to provide a model that could do just that.

The losers, of course, would be those petty tyrants who depend upon not being accountable to the "other 4/5ths" of the county. The worst of them would surely oppose returning to at-large elections. Unfortunately, right now it seems we have 5 of the worst of them.

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Can you say wasteful?

A mainly office for a manly man

Yet, another reason why Jeffco needs a total overhaul of its system. I didn't know that Jeffco has such a surplus of its revenue stream to waste the county funds on interior designing of a commissioner's office. :rolleyes:

The office, he said, needed a more "masculine lean" to it. Now it has one, thanks to $15,000 for new office furniture. Humphryes is spending $2,511 on a sofa, $2,401 on a cocktail table, $1,093 each on two chairs, $965 each on two table lamps, $899 each on two tables, $652 for a lamp table and $473 each on two lamps. He also is spending $696 for a high-back chair, $1,361 for prints and $10,915 on a new copier because it's more modern.

Or, rather, taxpayers are spending $15,000 for new office furniture and $11,000 for a new copier. The commission's finance committee voted Wednesday to approve Humphryes' requests.

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Bill would create manager job

It seems Jim Carns has decided to break ranks with Collins and Humphryes and put support behind a legislative bill to create a Jeffco County Manager. He, State Representative Paul DeMarco of Homewood and Senate Jabo Waggoner of Vestavia Hills held a press conference outside the Jeffco Courthouse in downtown on Tuesday. I like the fact that he is trying to prove he is not a rubberstamp flunkie of Bettye Fine Collins, and if passed it would help Jeffco clean up and make accountable some of the mess that the Commission has created.

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I would like to know what exactly did happened to the "at-large" elections of the county commission that I keep hearing occured in the past. When did this end?

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My guess is that the single member districts came about because of federal court or Justice Department mandates. At-large elections would have prevented African-American representation on the commission up until recently. Any changes to the current election system for commissioners would have to pass US Department of Justice review, under the Voting Rights Act I believe.

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Legislator says votes exist to hire Jeffco manager

State Representative Merika Coleman says that there are enough votes in House for either of the 2 bills that will create the position of County Manager for Jefferson County. The bills are now going to the Senate to be debated and voted upon.

Cross your fingers, guys. I hope that the bill that allows the creation that allows the voters to vote upon it will be the one that passes.

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Create a stronger Jefferson County; Professional management

After reading these articles in this Sunday's edition of The Birmingham News, that we are dire need of a county executive that is voted upon by the people. The current Jeffco Commission has proven that they don't want to attempt to fairly understand the scope of the problems plaguing this county. We need to strip all the current County Commissioners of all their executive abilities of county departments because they have shown their uncapable to helding without going political with every move. The current into a more executive form of county government is key to getting some of these things done.

Cities with similar problems such as Detroit and Pittsburgh resolved a lot of their issues by reconstructing their county-level struction of Allegheny (Pittsburgh) and Wayne (Detroit) counties towards an executive form of county government. The creation of an at-large elected, county executive or president to lead the county government and have vetoing abilities over their Commissioners or Councilors. It would be similar to a Mayor-council form of government seen on a muncipal level.

Regardless, we need to get the daily operations of county departments needs to be strip from the hands of the County Commission. The politics of county operation has led to the mismanagement long enough with this form of government, and something need to be done. We need to create a County Executive or County Manager or both.

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^I agree that Jeff Co needs a county executive, elected county-wide. I prefer an elected executive because I've seen city managers at odds with city elected officials, and the end result is the kind of mess that the county has now. An elected executive can be canned at the ballot box if he or she isn't getting the job done.

It would probably require a constitutional amendment, but a unified city-county metro government would be an even better deal.

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JEFFCO COMMISSIONER CARNS ONCE AGAIN PUSHES FOR COUNTY MANAGER BILL

One must admit Jeffco Commissioner Carns will not give up until this is passed, and you have to admire his tenacity. The bill which is sponsored by State Rep. Paul DeMarco and Sen. Jabo Waggoner, will be presented to the State Legislature next month will give the Jeffco the ability to have a county manager, but only if a majority, i.e., at least 3 county commissioners can agree to allow this. Surprisingly, this current make up of the commission would allow it.

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Another incident of waste, the Jeffco Commission gives $15,000 of discretionary funds to the Eagle Forum when they said for this fiscal year there wasn't going to be any funds available. The 4 commissioners: Bowman, Collins, Humphyres, and Carns all approved the use of these funds toward the conservative non-profit organization. Eagle Forum suppose to hold a forum on the "discussing global warming and its environmental", but their track history has proven otherwise involving their position on anything other "family values". :rolleyes:

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Sheriff threatens to sue County Commission over funds for 20 new patrol vehicles

Only in Jefferson County & Alabama would it be possible for a County Sheriff to sue the County Commission to fund the purchase of 20 new patrol cruisers. Yet, another reason why the Alabama State Constitution needs amending and/or rewriting. Jeffco should not have a Sheriff, a part of the Judicial branch of county gov't., having the ability to the sue the County Commission, the legislative/executive branch. This would not even being occuring if we had 1) County Executive/President/Mayor (executive branch) 2) Separation of Power/Accountability on the county level 3) A functioning state legislature who actually believed in giving home rule to individual counties.

This foolishness at its best, and on the backs of all us Jeffco taxpayers.

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I'm going to just say the only thing now that may save Jeffco from filing for bankruptcy is going be a state-assisted intervention. The among the things that ails this county is the make up of the commission in which I believe nearly all the commissioners except Carns and Humphreyes needs to be ousted. Also the County most definitely needs a county manager to remove the politics from the day-to-day operations of this governmental structure which is already bloated with bureaucracy. Finally, the County Commission needs at least 2 at-large elected seats because there seems to be this ideology on the commission that the spiting of one part of the county at the benefit of another. Nearly, all these things priorly mentioned are apart of the real cause of the $4B sewer debt.

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Retirement System of Alabama is looking into purchasing the Jeffco Sewer System with 2 commissioners backing

Bobby Humphreyes and Jim Carns is supporting the ambitious plan by presented by David Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) to purchase the Jefferson County Sewer System. However, the catch is that the county must file bankruptcy and allow RSA to purchase the system for $2 billion with the Wall Street bond insurers taking a $1.2 billion loss. Shelia Smoot is praising the plan for "having the credibility and cash to make it work", but chose to remain neutral. Also Bettye Fine Collins is basically neutral as well on the subject, and no response from George Bowman.

This plan will offer all us Jefferson County taxpayers an "out" from the possibility of having to deal with wrangling with the rate increases associated with a system system being in debt. However, we could also still wind up with the short end of the stick because the plan requires the county filing for bankruptcy with the major ramifications to the county and even Birmingham itself ability to issue municipal bonds to fund major projects. Its almost a zero-sum situation, but this is probably the best one we have compared to passing on more property and business taxes to fix a castrophe caused by corrupt politicians. David Bronner has shown that he is very invested in helping the state economically although he has yet to show any real effort to invest in the Birmingham City Center with a major project, but an asset never the less.

Essentially, the majority has gotten what they paid for with consistency of electing individuals with no business being in office, but this also a result of this county still have an governmental structure with operations ran by politicians rather an professional county manager.

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Now it looks as if a groundswell of political officials are now calling for Jefferson County to have both an at-large County Commission President AKA "County President" or "County Executive" created so that they will be held accountable to the entire constitutent along the plan for a County Manager to handle day-to-day operations. US Congressmen Artur Davis was the first official to announce this at the Sunrise Rotary Club breakfast Tuesday morning. Within hours, State Housemember John Rogers, Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO, Russell Cunningham, and Alabama Power CEO and President, Charles McCrary started to make calls for the same thing.

Of course the Jefferson County Commissioners Smoot, Humphryes, and Collins beg to differ, which is not surprising considering that would mean they would all lose their executive authority they all possess at the moment to run the county anyway they feel.

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Another former Jeffco Commissoner has been indicted by a federal grand jury. This time it is Mary Buckelew and she has plead guilty for obstruction of justice involving the lying about accepting gifts from a Wall Street bondholder total $4000. It looks like everybody expect Larry Langford, Shelia Smoot, and Bettye Fine Collins who has been a commissioner on the Jeffco Commission since the late 1990's has been indicted. One has to wonder how much longer is it going to be before the others will fall?

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Well, let's see there is now a hiring freeze, continued speculation of bankruptcy, and now Collins is finally saying she is all for a County Manager. However, this "County Manager" she wants would be an employee of the bureaucratic nightmare known as the Jefferson County Personnel Board instead of an non-political public official as State Representative DeMarco has proposed in the current State House bill. Interestingly, the entire Jeffco Legislative delegation is all for a county manager after years of many members talking out of both sides of their mouths against one for a variety of reasons.

This is turning out to be another interesting turn in the operation of Jefferson County government.

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