Category: Jefferson County Commission

Jefferson County Commission Approves $700 Million Budget

The Jefferson County Commission passed a budget of more than $700 million for fiscal 2020 during its meeting Aug. 8.

The action completed a budget process that finance committee chairman Joe Knight called “horrendous.” After the 3-2 vote to approve the budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, Knight said he was tired of 3-2 votes by the commission, and he presented an administrative order to revamp the procedure for future budgets.

“There are some good things that got done,” Knight said. “I want this to be a commission of five. I’m tired of the 3-2, the yeah-yeah, the politics. I want to be fair. I want to be across the board. I want everybody to be treated fairly.”

Read more.

JeffCo Commissioners in Split Vote Give Preliminary Approval to a Support Budget That Cuts Discretionary Spending

When the last of the Jefferson County Commission’s budget hearings were complete Thursday, commissioners decided on a nonbinding, nonpartisan 3-2 vote to support the support budget for 2020, which allots discretionary funds to commissioners as well as money for transit, sewer fee assistance and other programs.

Finance Chairman Joe Knight, a Republican, voted with Democratic commissioners Lashunda Scales and Sheila Tyson in favor of the action. Commission President Jimmie Stephens and Commissioner Steve Ammons voted no.

The complete budget will be considered for official approval at the commission’s Aug. 8 meeting. Read more.

Jeffco Commission Blocks Consideration of Contract Physicians Proposal

County Manager Tony Petelos will have to try again next time in his effort to be able to hire and fire contract physicians at Cooper Green Mercy Health System because the matter was blocked from consideration at today’s meeting of the Jefferson County Commission.

Because the resolution was presented as new business, all commissioners had to agree to consider it at their meeting at the Bessemer Courthouse. Commissioners Lashunda Scales and Sheila Tyson voted no, thus keeping it from being introduced into the meeting.

It is the second time this week the matter has come before the panel.

The proposal was initially a late add to the commission’s committee meeting Tuesday at the courthouse in Birmingham. That discussion ended with commissioners saying they needed to hear more before giving the county manager the ability to hire and fire contracted doctors at its clinic for indigent health care.
Read more.

Jefferson County Commission Bypasses Tyson in Health Care Authority Nominations

Update: The commission in its Thursday meeting approved the nominations as introduced.

The Jefferson County Commission voted Tuesday on the commissioners they intend to nominate to the UAB Healthcare Authority and Sheila Tyson, chair of the committee dealing with Cooper Green Mercy Health System, was not included.

A majority of commissioners agreed that chief financial officer John Henry should be recommended for a 2-year term, and county manager Tony Petelos and Commissioner Joe Knight to 1-year terms.

“I see the good ole boy network is still alive,” Tyson said. “If they wanted to start a road committee out of the gas tax and they didn’t want you (Stephens) on there and you are the chair of roads and transportation, you would have a problem with that. But it’s all right not to put me on the committee where I sit and have been working on.”

Tuesday’s vote was not final but will go before commissioners again Thursday. Read more.

Jefferson County Commission Approves Funding for New Bus Routes

Lashunda Scales said she finally got what she wanted today when the Jefferson County Commission agreed to supply additional funding for new bus routes without trimming support of those routes in fiscal 2020.

The commission today added $9,207 to the previously approved $100,000 to expand bus service into Fairfield, Brighton, Lipscomb, Adamsville and Forestdale for three months, through September. Commissioners had talked earlier about cutting transit funding for those areas in half during the next fiscal year. But they opted today to delay action on funding in the new year.

Commissioner Jimmie Stephens said he believes the $109,207 the commission has approved will fund the new routes into the coming calendar year, perhaps through February.

Read more.

Jeffco Commissioner Says Cities Must Contribute to Have Transit Service

Commissioner Joe Knight put cities who are getting bus service courtesy of Jefferson County on notice today that they eventually will need to contribute if they are to have transit service.

Commissioners heard a proposed resolution to increase the requested $100,000 for new or increased services to some areas to $109,207. Knight said somebody’s going to be short next year and expect the county to ante up again.

“We’re going to be the bad guys,” he said during today’s committee meeting. “That County Commission cut your bus service off. That’s what’s going to happen if we don’t get those cities engaged and take care of their citizens.”
Read more.

Jefferson County HR Director Fired, No Comment on Cause

Three weeks after telling a friend on social media that she was “having a great time” in her job, Michelle Rodrigues has been fired from her post as the head of human resources for Jefferson County.

“Michelle Rodrigues is no longer working for the county,” county manager Tony Petelos told BirminghamWatch. “On personnel matters, I can’t comment on that. All I can say is she’s no longer working here.”

Rodrigues declined a request for comment from BirminghamWatch.

Rodrigues is the second top manager the county has lost in a week. Armika Berkley resigned from her position as executive director of Cooper Green Mercy Health System.

Petelos squelched thoughts that the actions might be related. “No, it had nothing to do with that,” he said. “Michelle has absolutely nothing to do with Armika leaving or her contract.” Read more.

Cooper Green Mercy Health System Executive Director Resigns

Less than a week after the Jefferson County Commission hired a deputy director at Cooper Green Mercy Health System, Executive Director Armika Berkley today resigned from her position. Her last day is Aug. 16.

Efforts to reach Berkley were unsuccessful.

County manager Tony Petelos acknowledged receipt of the letter and said Berkley’s resignation has been accepted. He said the resignation was unanticipated.

“She’s just moving on,” Petelos told BirminghamWatch. “She’s been with us over two years now. We were very fortunate to have her during this period of time.

“It’s been difficult at Cooper Green over the past several years with the work that’s going on and the lack of staff that we have,” he said. “We’ve lost some key positions over there.” Read more.

Trash Going to Mt. Olive Landfill to Increase

Jefferson County Commissioners were told today that the trash going into the county’s Mount Olive Landfill will be increasing, ultimately doubling from up to 1,500 tons a day to up to 3,000 tons a day.

Santek Environmental of Alabama leases and operates the landfills.

The additional trash is allowed under the landfill’s permit, which was approved in 2004. Read more.