Category: Jefferson County Commission

‘Can-Do Cal’ Takes a Customer-Focused Approach to New Job as JeffCo County Manager

Cal Markert chuckled a little when he said his first name was Cal. That’s not quite accurate, as he was born Ralph Calloway Markert.

“My mother’s dad was Ralph,” he explained. “But I go by Cal.”

Already, some have begun calling him by his new title — county manager. The Jefferson County Commission recently selected the deputy county manager to succeed retiring Tony Petelos in that role.

Markert, 49, officially becomes the county’s second manager on Oct. 1. His tenure with the county goes back to his 2005 hiring to lead the county’s Roads and Transportation Department.

County Commission President Jimmie Stephens often referred to Markert as “Can-Do Cal” because he tended to accomplish the missions assigned to him.

“He was very, very receptive to what the needs of the people were,” Stephens said. “That’s unusual in today’s environment. The world is filled with bureaucracy right now and people that work through the system and with the system.

“Cal has been unique in that he has worked around the system to make sure that our infrastructure and our citizens are well-served,” he said. “That didn’t go unnoticed, nor unappreciated.” Read more.

Knight Elected Vice President of State County Commissions Association

Joe Knight was bearing gifts when he arrived at Tuesday’s meeting of the Jefferson County Commission.

The District 4 commissioner brought awards from the Association of County Commissions of Alabama. But beyond the awards – which included administrator of the year for retiring County Manager Tony Petelos – Knight had a prize he received, having been elected vice president of the state body of county commissions.

“We haven’t had anybody from Jefferson County in over 20 years who has been involved as an officer of that organization,” Knight said. “I, along with some encouragement from some people, decided to put my name in the hat, was nominated and then was elected last Thursday.”
Read more.

COVID Drives Up Costs at Jefferson County Jails

What looked to be a $500,000 cleaning bill for a month raised the eyebrows of Jefferson County Commissioners during their committee meeting Monday morning.

The sheriff’s office had asked for more money during the final weeks of the 2020 fiscal year. The apparent reason was a hefty cleaning bill at the two county jails.

But commissioners learned that increased expenses for feeding prisoners brought on by pandemic protocols contributed to the large request. Read more.

Jeffco Commissioner Cautions About Travel Expenses

Jefferson County Commissioner Steve Ammons urged county employees and department heads Tuesday to be careful of excessive spending when traveling on behalf of the county.

“I was just making sure that employees understand that we’re still keeping an eye on travel,” Ammons said following the commission’s committee meeting. “It’s not a vacation.”

Ammons’ eye was drawn to a trip someone from the county compliance office will take Sept. 18-22 to the Compliance & Ethics Institute Conference in Las Vegas. That trip will cost $3,354.55. He said some trips are to places that are expensive, but supervisors should be keeping an eye on expenses.
Read more.

Jefferson County Commissioners Look for Ways to Stop Illegal Dumping

Jefferson County commissioners in their meeting Thursday said illegal dumping has gotten worse throughout the majority of unincorporated Jefferson County and something needs to be done.

“We’ve been continuously having a really big problem of illegal dumping and it has gotten out of control,” Commissioner Lashunda Scales said. “Even though we clean it, we seem to have to go back often to rectify it.” Read more.

Company Begins Study to Shorten Jefferson County Emergency Response Times, Some of More Than 3 Hours

The problem of extended ambulance response times didn’t pop up overnight, and the solution won’t either, according to a consultant Jefferson County is bringing in to address the situation.

“This is our first day on the project,” Joseph “Jay” Fitch, founding partner of Fitch and Associates, said Tuesday at the committee meeting of the Jefferson County Commission. “We’re going to be to touring your 911 center and working with an advisory group of municipal officials and fire chiefs today.”

Fitch said the first part of the project is discovering data so his company knows when and where emergency calls occur. Knowing that, he said, the company can look at different kinds of options for emergency medical service coverage.

Commission President Jimmie Stephens said long ambulance response times has been an ongoing problem for more than nine months. He said the extended wait times for an ambulance for emergencies, including heart attacks, sometimes exceeds three hours. Read more.

Two Road Projects Moved Forward by Jeffco Commission

A pair of road projects are closer to fruition after the Jefferson County Commission on Thursday approved resolutions related to those two projects.

Each project is in the city of Hoover. One authorizes a joint services agreement with Hoover and Jefferson County and CSX Transportation on improvements to South Shades Crest Road, to which a third lane will be added from Alabama 150 to Eden Ridge Drive.

That project includes replacing a bridge that passes over CSX train tracks.

The other project authorizes paying for tract 6 of the Galleria Boulevard extension project. For years, motorists have driven through the parking lot of Ashley Homestore as they’ve made their way from Alabama 150 to Lorna Road on the other side of the hill.
Read more.

Jefferson County Commission Approves Incentives for Development

The Jefferson County Commission today approved a resolution to provide economic incentives for Bill Smith’s latest venture – Landing – but not before Lashunda Scales had her say.

The matter passed 3-1, with Scales casting the dissenting vote. Sheila Tyson was absent.

Scales expressed concern, saying she wanted to see what efforts the company will make to give priority to hiring residents of Jefferson County. Additionally, she said she is concerned that a long-term plan for the company was not presented even though the incentive plan covers six years.

The District 1 commissioner said that while the company currently arranges apartments for rentals, she is afraid the operation will go beyond apartment rentals
Read more.