A Walk Across the Park: Birmingham’s New Mayor Meets with JeffCo Commission

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin talks with Jefferson County Commissioners following their meeting Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. (Source: Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

Dec. 14, 2017 – The Jefferson County Commission received a visit from a neighbor Thursday morning – Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin.

The newly elected mayor had intended to attend the commission meeting but missed it. Commissioners were working on an accelerated schedule as they squeezed in a committee meeting and commission meeting before having a status conference in court related to the county having come out from bankruptcy.

While Woodfin missed the official meeting, he did visit with commissioners for about half an hour, introducing them to members of his administration and talking about matters of common interest.

The mayor and commissioners agreed that it’s important for there to be cooperation and communication between the two government bodies.

“It’s 100 percent important,” Woodfin said. “Birmingham is the largest city in our county, so city and county should work together. At a certain point, we’ve got to get beyond ceremonial things. There are real issues within the city limits of Birmingham as well as Jefferson County.

“Let’s not forget that citizens of Birmingham are also residents of Jefferson County,” the mayor continued. “We can’t be in a space where we’re operating in silos.”

Woodfin cited issues of infrastructure, crime, economic development and overall quality of life.

“As mayor of Birmingham, I am committed to working with and partnering with Jefferson County,” he said.

Commissioner Sandra Little Brown, a former Birmingham City Council member, acknowledged that the lines of communication haven’t always been open from the two governmental sides of Linn Park.

“We represent the same people that you do,” Brown said. “I hope we can get the message to the council members.”

Woodfin said this was his first trip across the park to visit the Jefferson County Courthouse in his official capacity. Commission President Jimmie Stephens said the walkway goes both ways.

“We’ll come visit you, too,” he said, repeating his slogan that it’s a new day in Jefferson County.

“I’ve met with Mayor Woodfin on several occasions, as has the Jefferson County Commission,” Stephens said. “We’re going to work together. We’re stronger when we work together and we create an economic engine that’s stronger than anything that you’ve seen in the state of Alabama.

“It’s a new day in Jefferson County and it’s a new day in the city of Birmingham,” he continued. “We look forward to this being the best decade in Jefferson County’s history and city of Birmingham’s history, together for the good of the citizens.”