Education Committee Meets to Give Mayor Bell More Money

Photo Courtesy of the Birmingham City Counsel


BIRMINGHAM CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - Within 24 hours of the City Council's vote to deny Birmingham retirees a choice in health care coverage, that same governing body called a special meeting of the Education Committee. For what reason has the Education Committee been called to order? The president of the Birmingham City Council, Jonathan Austin, assembled this group to discuss increasing the contractual amounts that Mayor Bell could spend without City Council approval. Currently, Mayor Bell can enter into contracts for no more than $10,000.00. Jonathan Austin called for a change in City code 3-3-1 that would allow the Mayor to sign contracts at his discretion for $50,000.00 without any approval from anyone.

During the discussion Councilman Hoyt reminded the members that, in fact, it was Council President William Bell who pushed through the $10,000.00 cap for contracts during the administration of Mayor Kincaid.Councilman Hoyt said that the language for this increase lacked transparency and expressed concern that administrative "checks and balances" were being removed. The Mayor is supposed to give the City Council a report, detailing how he spends the $10,000.00 he has at his discretion. Councilman Hoyt said he would like to know how the money was being spent before he increased the amount. Unfortunately, the Mayor has yet to present a report about his discretionary spending to the Council.
In the end, the Education committee decided it was best to table this issue.
The City doesn't have a funding problem, it has a spending problem.

(NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: Retiree Report is our newest continuing feature at We would like to invite other retirees to submit their opinions to be included in this series. Write down what you think about the current state of the City of Birmingham or your observations about the latest events in City Hall and email it to We look forward to hearing from you.)