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Birmingham city leaders bid farewell to Councilors Scales and Tyson

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Birmingham City Councilors on Tuesday held their final meeting with members Lashunda Scales and Sheila Tyson, both of whom will be seated on the Jefferson County Commission on Wednesday. (Erica Wright Photo, For The Birmingham Times)
By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times

Birmingham City Councilors and Mayor Randall Woodfin bid farewell Tuesday to District 1 Councilor Lashunda Scales and District 6 Councilor Sheila Tyson. Both will be sworn in as Jefferson County Commission members on Wednesday, November 15.

Woodfin said, “I want to thank [Scales and Tyson] for their service and for being part of the collective effort to make this city the best it can be. I wish you the very best and look forward to working with you in your new roles as county commissioners.”

Scales, who unseated District 1 Commissioner George Bowman in the July runoff election, noted several people in her farewell

District 1 Councilor Lashunda Scales bids her farewell to the Birmingham City Council and Mayor Randall Woodfin at her last council meeting on Tuesday. Scales will be sworn in on the Jefferson County Commission, District 1 on Wednesday. (Erica Wright Photos, The Birmingham Times)

address: “I’m very grateful for the gift God has given me to be a voice for the people for nine years. … My job is to speak up for my district, and I will continue to do so.”

When thanking the “sheroes” in her life, Scales got emotional as she recalled their strength and sage advice. She spoke of her mother, a widow who raised four children and showed them how to overcome adversity. She also shared words of wisdom from her grandmothers and great-grandmother.

“[They told me], ‘You can have pride, or you can humble yourself and be fed’; ‘You’re either going to keep running, looking for a better place to live, or you’re going to learn how to stand and fight for where you live’; [and] ‘Nobody has to do anything for you, so when they do, tell them thank you,’” Scales said.

Tyson, who unseated Commissioner Sandra Little Brown in the July runoff election, asked council members and the mayor to continue to look out for the people of District 6, particularly those residents dealing with drainage problems.

“I was a community activist before I got up here. I used to come up here fighting y’all and trying to get things done,” Tyson said. “I want to send a big hug and say thanks to everyone I’ve worked with here.”

She also recalled her proudest achievements as a council member.

District 6 Councilor Sheila Tyson bids her farewell to the Birmingham City Council and Mayor Randall Woodfin at her last council meeting on Tuesday. Tyson will be sworn in on the Jefferson County Commission, District 2 on Wednesday. (Erica Wright Photos, The Birmingham Times)

“I am very, very proud of the development [in District 6, including both] Larkway Gardens, which will be a senior-citizen facility, [and a new] health-care facility,” said Tyson, adding that as a county commissioner she will continue to fight for Cooper Green and people in need of access to health care.

Councilors offered parting words to both Scales and Tyson.

Councilor John Hilliard said to Scales, “You are a model for black women in Birmingham, … [and] now you can have [an even greater] impact. … I look forward to us continuing to work together.”

Councilor Hunter Williams recalled a fond memory of Scales.

“From the time I came into office, you were so polite not only to me … but also to my grandparents, who sat on the front row. You made it a point to speak to them because that’s the kind of lady you are,” he said. “I look forward to continuing our friendship, both personally and professionally.”

Speaking about both Tyson and Scales, Councilor Steven Hoyt said, “These two women are going to change the trajectory of Jefferson County for the good. That spirit of hard work and cooperation has helped this city, and we are all better for having worked with them.”

The City Council is still accepting resumes for the District 1 and District 6 seats. Completed applications and resumes should be emailed to the attention of City Council President Valerie Abbott at Valerie.abbott@birminghamal.gov no later than Friday, November 16, at 5 p.m.