Tag: Jefferson County Commission

Tyson Assures Ensley Residents She’s Not Trying to Get Rid of Them in Commission Redistricting

Commissioner Sheila Tyson said today she has fielded phone calls from Ensley residents who think she’s trying to cut them from the Jefferson County district she represents.

Nothing could be further from the truth, she said during a brief meeting of the commission at the Bessemer Justice Center.

“It wasn’t that if you’re underpopulated, you try to get rid of what you’ve got,” Tyson said. “It makes no sense. I just wanted to straighten that up.”

During the Oct. 5 commission committee meeting, Board of Registrars Chairman Barry Stephenson presented three plans for evenly distributing the county population between its five districts using 2020 U.S. Census numbers.

Commissioners advanced all three maps for public review. A hearing on the plans will be conducted during the Nov. 4 commission meeting. Read more.

JeffCo Commission Seeks Info About Relief Fund Status

Jefferson County commissioners said during their committee meeting Tuesday that they want to be informed about federal rescue funds that they ultimately will be asked to approve.

Commission President Jimmie Stephens told County Manager Cal Markert that the commission wants to know who has applied for the latest brand of COVID funds from the federal government and where those applications are in the system of approval.

The commission also heard an update on the talks about the USFL being reestablished with its headquarters in Birmingham. Read more.

Stephens Left as Last Man Sitting, Recesses JeffCo Commission After Other Commissioners Had to Bolt

They say it’s lonely at the top. As Thursday’s meeting of the Jefferson County Commission neared its end, it was lonely on the dais.

Commission President Jimmie Stephens was the only commissioner remaining after others were either absent or had to leave because of other commitments.

“I guess I’m the last man standing on this particular deal,” Stephens said after recessing the session. “This is not the pattern, practice or the way we do business. We have commissioners who had other commitments, and this did run over very long. We wanted to give the citizens an opportunity to speak.

“At the end of that, we did do what was needed and necessary to take care of the business of the county,” he continued. “We’ll have a full quorum next meeting and continue the operations and business.” Read more.

JeffCo Commissioners Just Won’t Let Go of Petelos

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” — Al Pacino from The Godfather Part 3

Tony Petelos could have recited Pacino’s famous line except the retiring county manager knew he wasn’t out. At least not yet.

Cal Markert, the deputy county manager who was recently hired to be county manager, was called on to present the report of the county manager during Tuesday’s committee meeting of the Jefferson County Commission. Markert mentioned that Petelos was in his office, taking in the meeting via livestream. Hearing that, commissioners asked Petelos to join them for his final committee meeting.

“I’ve said once and I’ve said it again and again and again,” Petelos said. “We have good staff in place. I feel confident about the staff in the county. You commissioners work well together. You don’t agree on everything but you do work well together.” Read more.

JeffCo Employees Getting 3% Raises in Budget Passed Thursday

Jefferson County Commissioner Joe Knight displayed a more relaxed countenance Thursday when it became clear the 2022 Jefferson County budget would be balanced and approved.

“Since about the middle of July, it’s been one thing after another,” said Knight, who chairs the commission’s finance and budget committees. “The best part of my year is going to be Monday when me and my wife take off for a week.”

The $882,750,611 budget, passed unanimously by the commission, includes a 3% across-the-board raise for county employees. That accounted for an additional $3.3 million to the payroll. “Then you add $1.7 million of merit raises in that next year,” Knight said. “That moves that starting point up $5 million.” Read more.

‘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.