The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to appoint District 4 Councilor William Parker as its new president and District 7 Councilor Wardine Alexander as president pro tempore.
Parker takes over from District 3 Councilor Valerie Abbott, who had held the seat since October 2017.
The council’s vote was narrowly split between Parker and District 1 Councilor Clinton Woods, who had just been sworn into office after winning his first public election; he originally was appointed to the council in December.
Abbott and District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt both jockeyed for the decisive vote, repeatedly asking the city clerk to pass over them until everyone else had voted. Abbott broke the impasse by declaring she would abstain. Hoyt then placed his vote for Woods, tying the vote at 4-4, before Abbott announced that she had changed her mind and would vote for Parker, giving him the majority needed to win.
The vote for president pro tempore was similarly close, though with fewer theatrics. Alexander narrowly edged out District 9 Councilor John Hilliard for the position with a 5-4 vote.
Alexander is the only remaining councilor with a pending election; she’ll face off against former Birmingham Fire Chief Ray Brooks in Nov. 19’s runoff. If she loses the election, the council will have to elect a new president pro tempore.