Home Local Council’s Vote for O’Quinn as Council President Declared Invalid

Council’s Vote for O’Quinn as Council President Declared Invalid

1897
0
By Barnett Wright
The Birmingham Times

Not so fast.

On Tuesday, Darrell O’Quinn was elected by his colleagues as President of the Birmingham City Council. On Wednesday, the vote was ruled invalid. That means another vote could be held for council president on October 31 – or before. The council could gather for a Special Called meeting as soon as Friday, Oct. 27.

City Clerk Lee Frazier sent an email Wednesday morning to city leaders that said “due to an error in mathematical computation the votes for the Council President position did not comply with the requirement” set by the Mayor Council Act (MCA).

Here’s what happened: An earlier vote for council president on Tuesday resulted in a tie vote between Councilor Wardine Alexander (District 7), the incumbent president, and District 1 Councilor Clinton Woods. That resulted in a 4-4 stalemate with Carol Clarke, District 8, abstaining.

Clarke then nominated O’Quinn, a veterinarian who has represented District 5 since 2017, as a third candidate and he received four votes, which with three candidates in the running was enough to give him the nod, or so it was believed at the time.

O’Quinn received votes from Clarke, Hunter Williams (District 2) , Valerie Abbott (District 3) and himself.

However, “upon reviewing the proceedings from Tuesday’s meeting and consulting with legal [department], it has been determined that due to an error in mathematical computation the votes for the Council President position did not comply with the requirement set by the MCA,” Frazier wrote. “According to … the MCA, a vote of 4 is only valid if it constitutes a majority of the members of the Council casting their votes. However, in Tuesday’s meeting, the final tally was 4-3-2, resulting in a total of 9 votes being cast. Therefore, in this situation, a majority vote would require at least 5 votes.”

To rectify this situation, Frazier wrote, it is necessary to hold another election for the Council President position during the upcoming Tuesday’s (Oct. 31) meeting or during a special called meeting this week designated by Council with at least a 24 hour notice.”

Frazier did add that Council Wardine Alexander had secured enough votes to be elected president pro tem, replacing Cystal Smitherman, with support from Councilors J. T. Moore (District 4), O’Quinn, Councilor LaTonya Tate (District 9), Clarke (District 8) and a vote for herself.

“As Pro tem Alexander was properly elected, she is no longer serving as President,” he wrote.” However, considering the vacancy in the President position, Pro tem Alexander will fulfill the role of Chair for the next meeting.