By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times
The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday selected Wardine Alexander, former Birmingham Board of Education president, to fill the vacant District 7 seat to replace Jay Roberson, who stepped down last month.
The 5-3 vote came one week after the council deadlocked 4-4 on whether Alexander or Lonnie Malone would replace Roberson.
On Tuesday, Alexander secured the votes of Council President Valerie Abbott and councilors Hunter Williams, Darrell O’Quinn, William Parker, and Steven Hoyt, who last week voted for Malone. Councilors Lashunda Scales, Sheila Tyson and John Hilliard voted for Malone.
Parker was elected president pro-tempore to replace Roberson who also served in that position.
“I think all the candidates [for District 7] were excellent but I think at some point you have to move past the impasse, otherwise we continue to kick this political football down the field and that’s not what we came to do, we came to take care of business,” said Hoyt, who cast the deciding vote.
Alexander was sworn in by Judge Andra D. Sparks, presiding Municipal Court judge.
“I have to start by quoting my favorite scripture, ‘To whom much is given, much is required’ so I’d like to thank my fellow council members for the opportunity to serve the residents of District 7, it’s very humbling to me,” Alexander said. “As a longtime resident of District 7, I fully understand the successes that we’ve had and the work that needs to be done in District 7.”
Alexander said she will continue the work begun by Roberson and that means working with fellow council members, as well as Mayor Randall Woodfin.
“The more that we collaborate and work together as a team, then we can move this city forward and move District 7 forward,” she said. “So, I hope the skills that I have will help us to work as a team and to collaborate and work together effectively.”
In other business, Woodfin and his city department heads were not present during the meeting, the first time anyone can recall that happening in recent memory where department heads were absent for a council meeting.
The mayor’s public information office put out a statement that said in part, “The mayor is currently out of town at a conference. The mayor wants to be in position to address any questions from the council personally. Mayor’s office and department heads are always willing, committed and available to answer city council questions.”
In another matter, Councilors Lashunda Scales and Sheila Tyson, who won seats on the Jefferson County Commission this summer, will step down effective November 14, once they are sworn in at the courthouse. Abbott announced the council will now be accepting resumes for District 1 (Scales) and District 6 (Tyson).
Those interested should be a qualified elector of the City of Birmingham, at least 21 years of age, and shall not hold any other public office except that of notary public or member of the National Guard, naval or military reserve.
Completed applications and resumes should be emailed to the attention of Council President Abbott at Valerie.firstname.lastname@example.org and the deadline to apply for both open seats is November 16 at 5 p.m.