UPDATED — When he was elected in 2016, Frank Brocato became the 10th individual to serve as mayor of Hoover.
On Tuesday night, the 67-year-old former city fire marshal won an easy victory in his bid for a second four-year mayoral term in Alabama’s sixth most populous city.
In an election in which each City Council incumbent on the ballot won easily, Brocato defeated City Council President Gene Smith III, a former city firefighter and a council member since 2004, by a margin of more than three to one. According to unofficial returns, Brocato had 9,969 votes to 3,147 for Smith.
In an interview, Brocato keys to his re-election included the city’s increased funding for its school system and an improved relationship between the city and school system leaders, the development of a comprehensive plan to guide city development, strong support for public safety and stepped-up attention to maintaining the quality of city neighborhoods.
Hoover which sits in Jefferson and a portion of north Shelby County, has a population of about 87,000, according to 2019 U.S. Census figures. Its per capita income of more than $44,000 is significantly higher than both the state and national averages.
The Hoover mayor serves with a seven-member council, and the makeup of the next council will be very similar to the one that has been in place for the past four years. That’s because incumbents Curt Posey in Place 1, John Lyda in Place 3, Mike Shaw in Place 4 and Casey Middlebrooks in Place 6 easily defeated their opponents Tuesday night. In Place 5, one-term incumbent Derrick Murphy was unopposed in his re-election bid and has already been sworn in for another four-year term.
In the three-candidate race for the Place 7 seat held by retiring council veteran John Greene, 2016 mayoral candidate Steve McClinton won a norrow victory with nearly 51% of the votes cast, with Alli Nations a distant second.
Meanwhile, a runoff on Oct. 6 will settle the race for Place 2, the seat Smith gave up to run for mayor. In Place 2, Sam Swiney and Robin Schultz led one-two in a four-candidate field.
Except for Murphy, Tuesday’s election winners and whoever wins the Oct. 6 runoff will be sworn in Nov. 2.
Brocato said he would work with the entire council but added he was “glad to have the veteran council (members) back. Some really sharp individuals.”
“We have some financial challenges or opportunities, however you want to look at it, in terms of making sure that we provide the great services to our citizens that they deserve, and I’ll work very hard with them to make sure that absolutely happens and we keep a strong public safety, a strong public school system” and a revitalized Galleria, Brocato said.
The giant shopping complex has seen three fatal shootings during Brocato’s term, and online shopping and the COVID-19 economic downturn have cut into its sales tax revenue. Citing the Galleria’s importance to the city, county and state, Brocato said a plan was in place “to transform it, have it look somewhat like a city center and I really look forward to that opportunity.”