Nov. 14, 2017 — Birmingham Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin held a press conference Tuesday morning to name members of his administration’s executive leadership team.
Almost all of the appointees previously worked in some capacity with Birmingham city government. Two worked on the campaign of Bernie Sanders, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate who endorsed Woodfin shortly before his election.
Standing at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in front of a black banner with the words “How Does It Help All 99 Birmingham Neighborhoods?” emblazoned on it, Woodfin announced his new chief of staff, chief operating officer, senior adviser and chief strategist, director of intergovernmental affairs, city attorney and executive administrator.
Before the announcement, Woodfin said he plans to “hit the reset button at City Hall as relates to certain leadership having a sense of urgency with helping people and putting people first.” The question on the banner behind him serves as “our why,” he said, the guiding principle behind every decision his administration makes.
“When we wake up every single day over the next four years, every decision we make, every issue we face, anything on the solutions end of the problems we have, we will always ask this question,” he said, before beginning the process of introducing his staff.
Sylvia Bowen, executive administrator
First, Woodfin announced the appointment of Sylvia Bowen as his executive administrator. Bowen served as an executive assistant and events coordinator for District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt from 2010 to 2014; she also worked as an instructor at Lawson State Community College from 2009 to 2010. More recently, she’d served as Alabama’s outreach director for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign.
Bowen said she was “very excited for this opportunity to serve the citizens of Birmingham. … I’m excited to get to work and serve the city.”
Cedric D. Sparks Sr., chief of staff
Woodfin’s chief of staff will be Cedric D. Sparks Sr., who has served in the Mayor’s Office’s Division of Youth Services since 1998. He’s been executive director of that division since 2002. He previously served as chairman of the Western Area YMCA board of directors and as president of the Birmingham Chapter of 100 Black Men. He also has served as the program facilitator for Project Corporate Leadership, designed for upwardly mobile managers and professionals. Woodfin described Sparks as “a good man and a friend of mine.”
Sparks said he first met Woodfin more than 10 years ago, when Woodfin, then a recent college graduate, approached the Mayor’s Office Division of Youth Services “eager, excited and wanting to make a difference.”
“The roles have changed now, but the mindset has not,” Sparks added. “Now I’m the one coming to him, eager, excited and wanting to make a difference in our city the best way I can.”
Kevin W. Moore, chief operating officer
Kevin W. Moore was named as the administration’s chief operating officer. Moore has served as a city employee for 22 years, including his current role as the director of Birmingham’s Parks and Recreation Department, a job he has held since 2014, and previously as the director of the Birmingham CrossPlex.
“Mayor-elect Woodfin’s mission of building the community through servant leadership aligns with my philosophy of life, that we were born to serve,” Moore said. “With the team assembled here today and the leadership of Mayor-elect Woodfin, I see great days ahead.”
Kelvin Datcher, director of intergovernmental affairs
Kelvin Datcher will serve as the administration’s director of intergovernmental affairs. Datcher, like Bowen, is an alumnus of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, having served as its Alabama director. He also has served as director of investor relations for REV Birmingham. He previously worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center and Alabama State University, and he worked as a committee assistant to District 6 City Councilor Sheila Tyson, whom Datcher described as “one of the hardest-working public officials anywhere in the world.”
“In the simplest way I can put it, this young man understands politics and governing and communication,” Woodfin said.
Datcher said he was “inspired” by Woodfin’s door-to-door campaign and looked forward to working with the City Council, as well as the county, state and federal government, and with the governments of other municipalities in the region.
“We simply cannot be all we can be unless and until we move forward together,” he said.
Ed Fields, senior adviser and chief strategist
Ed Fields will serve as Woodfin’s senior adviser and chief strategist. Fields led Woodfin’s mayoral campaign and served as his administration’s transition coordinator. Woodfin introduced Fields as a “brilliant mind” who would “assist this administration, not just day-to-day, but in its overarching vision for the direction of our city.”
Fields gave a brief statement highlighting what he described as Woodfin’s “spirit of service and love” and said he felt that the other members of the administration also embodied that spirit. Fields said he would look “at the horizon,” to formulate long-term goals alongside the day-to-day operations of the city.
Nicole King, city attorney
Finally, Woodfin announced that the position of city attorney would be filled by Nicole King, who has worked with the city’s law department since 2006. She’s also served as a prosecutor in municipal court.
“Believe it or not, she actually trained and taught me when I came to the city’s legal department,” Woodfin said.
King said she hoped to provide “the most effective legal representation needed to move the city of Birmingham forward.”
Department heads and other executive leadership positions will be announced after Woodfin’s inauguration on Nov. 28.