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For Second Time This Week, Darrell O’Quinn Voted President of Birmingham City Council

Newly elected Birmingham City Council President Darrell O'Quinn with Council Pro Tem Wardine Alexander. (Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson, The Birmingham Times)

By Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson

The Birmingham Times

For the second time in a week, Darrell O’Quinn was elected Birmingham City Council President this time with five Councilors in support, unlike the first time when he received four votes, not enough to win, according to the Mayor Council Act (MCA), said City Clerk Lee Frazier.

On Friday in a special called meeting, Councilors Valerie Abbott (District 3); Councilors Carol Clarke (District 8); J. T. Moore (District 4) Hunter Williams (District 2), joined O’Quinn (District 5) for a total of five votes, enough for a majority with nine council members present.

“It gives me great honor that the majority of my colleagues have bestowed this honor upon me. Mostly, I’m just thankful for their confidence in me,” said O’Quinn.

Meanwhile, Councilor Clinton Woods called for an investigation into the Tuesday’s vote.

At Tuesday’s meeting, four Councilors voted in favor of O’Quinn (Abbott, Clarke, Williams, and O’Quinn) but the panel was later told 5 votes were needed according to the MCA.

O’Quinn said he learned there was an issue with the votes cast on Wednesday morning.

“It’s sort of unprecedented, I don’t know that this has ever happened in the city. Still, there are mixed emotions,” O’Quinn said. “My preference would have been that we’d gotten this over with on Tuesday. The intervening time has been a little bit stressful, but it’s done now and time for us to get back on track.”

No election was needed for the position of Birmingham Council President Pro Tempore. Councilor Wardine Alexander’s election Tuesday as Council President Pro Tempore was secured as she received five votes for her seat – Moore, O’Quinn, Tate, Clarke and Alexander also placed a vote for herself. Alexander replaced Smitherman as President Pro Tempore.

Woods said he was excited for O’Quinn, describing him “one of the hardest working councilors here at City Hall” and said he was “very deserving.”

However, Woods said he felt a “very strong conviction” to look into Tuesday’s election results and called for an investigation. “We just want to understand why that election ended without a majority vote. We’re gonna work through that,” he said. “This could take a year or two just to get fully through it, but I think it’s important to go back and look at all the correspondence and see whether or not anything inappropriate happened.”

Woods said next steps are to get the request for an investigation on the council agenda for consideration at a future meeting, which, he says, will likely be early November. He requested the item be added to the agenda at Friday’s special-called election, but needed unanimous consent. Clarke voted against adding it.

“We can’t take a violation of state law lightly, so we’ve got to do what we need to do to make sure this never happens again,” said Woods.

O’Quinn and Alexander will serve in their respective offices through 2025.