32 Candidates for Two Seats on Birmingham City Council May Present their Cases on Thursday

Thirty-two people have applied to fill two vacant seats on the Birmingham City Council, and they will all get the chance to publicly make their cases to the council later this week.

During a special-called meeting on Thursday, Dec. 13, applicants will be given one minute each to give “elevator speeches” on their qualifications, Council President Valerie Abbott said during Tuesday’s regular council meeting.

“They are going to show us their skills at concisely telling us why they are the best candidates for the positions,” she said.

That concision is necessary, she said, because of the number of applicants. “If we interview all (of them) at a half-hour apiece, the council will be here for 16 or 17 hours, and I didn’t think that the council was going to be up for that at Christmastime,” she said.

The council will not provide feedback at Thursday’s meeting; members will instead choose a smaller number of applicants to sit for full, half-hour interviews with the council at a later date.

Thursday’s meeting will take place at 4 p.m. on the third floor of City Hall in conference rooms D and E.   You can find the full list of applicants here.

Of the 32 applicants, 14 are hoping to fill the District 1 seat left vacant by Lashunda Scales, while the other 18 are vying for Sheila Tyson’s former District 6 seat. Scales and Tyson were elected to the Jefferson County Commission earlier this year, and resigned from their council seats last month to take office on the commission.

They weren’t the first councilors to step down this year, either. In September, District 7 Councilor Jay Roberson suddenly resigned, citing his wife’s new job with Alabaster City Schools. Former Birmingham Board of Education President Wardine Alexander was appointed to fill his seat.

The council also is accepting applications to fill two vacancies on the Birmingham Public Library’s Board of Trustees, one of which was vacated by Alexander when she was appointed to the council. Applications can be sent to Abbott’s email at valerie.abbott@birminghamal.gov. The deadline to apply is Friday, Dec. 21 at 5 p.m.