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Birmingham City Council has two vacancies. Now what?

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Councilor LaShunda Scales and Sheila Tyson both won the seats for County Commission in District 1 and 2 in the runoff election on Tuesday. They
By William C. Singleton III
For The Birmingham Times

Birmingham City Councilwoman Lashunda Scales was elected to the Jefferson County Commission Place 1 seat Tuesday.(The Birmingham Times / Frank Couch )

Now that two of its members were elected Jefferson County Commissioners, the Birmingham City Council is making plans to fill the vacancies.

Councilors LaShunda Scales and Sheila Tyson were elected to the District 1 and District 2 commission seats during the Democratic runoff on Tuesday. Since they have no Republican challengers, they are expected to be sworn into office in November. Both Scales and Tyson defeated incumbents George Bowman and Sandra Little Brown, respectively.

They will serve on the council until they take office as commissioners after the November 6 general election.

So what happens next?

The city council will make appointments for both council seats after Scales and Tyson leave office. “The council cannot appoint anyone until the vacancies occur, which is on a Wednesday, a week following the general election,” said the council in a release issued on Wednesday.

After the council makes its appointments, the new council members will serve until the next scheduled election in which they would have to run district-wide to retain their council seats.

Council President Valerie Abbott will announce when the council will begin accepting resumes for candidates interested in the District 1 vacancy by Scales and the District 6 vacancy by Tyson.

Birmingham City Councilor Sheila Tyson was elected to the Jefferson County Commission District 2 seat Tuesday. (Reginald Allen Photo, For The Birmingham Times)

Section 3.09 of the Mayor-Council Act, which addresses vacancies on the Council, reads as follows:

“Vacancies in the council shall be filled by the council at the next regular meeting or any subsequent meeting of the council, the person so elected to hold office only until the next election of any kind in which the voters of the city to which this Act applies are qualified electors, at which time said unexpired terms shall be filled by said electors in accordance with all provisions of law applicable to such city; in any event, the person elected shall hold office until his successor is elected and qualified.”

According to the State of Alabama Code Section 11-3-1(d) which addresses the qualifications of candidates for county commissioner; vacancies; composition of commission; meetings reads as follows:

“(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law related to election canvassing, certification, or contest, the term of office for county commissioner shall commence at 12:00 a.m. on the second Wednesday following the general election at which he or she is elected and shall expire at 11:59 p.m. on the first Tuesday following the day of the general election at which the successor to that office is elected.

Both outgoing councilors said they would like a say in who occupies their respective seats.

“I’m very interested in being a part of that process because I want to make sure our district is thoroughly represented in a timely manner,” Scales said. “I don’t want the absence to be there very long.  In fact, I want to make sure whatever I need to do to help push that so that as soon as I leave we do have representation.”

Tyson said, “I would hope the council would take my recommendation into consideration. I have people who I have been working with in the district who have the same platform and believe in what I believe in. I would love to support one of these people. “Both councilwomen said they had candidates in mind but did not want to share their names publicly.

To read more about elections, click here.