By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, November 28, 2017, Birmingham Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin will be inaugurated. All events are designed to honor the citizens and will be open to the public.
“Inauguration day is the culmination of more than a year of hard work by many, many people across our city who joined together to win this important election,” Woodfin said. “Whether they knocked on doors, made phone calls or just went out to vote, they made a difference in the outcome of the election, and now it is up to us to honor their support with an administration that is focused on improving all of our neighborhoods, education system, public safety and other issues important to our great city.”
Inaugural events began on Sunday, November 26, with a day of service from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. This was followed by a prayer service from 5:30-7:00 p.m. during which people of all faiths were invited to participate.
“We want to instill a renewed belief in public service to our city” Woodfin said. “That goes beyond city hall. It means each of us supporting our neighbors, friends, family members and those who simply need a helping hand. We want this to be a time when our citizens can come together and celebrate this special time but also work together as a community.”
The Woodfin Administration will officially begin on Tuesday, November 28, with swearing-in ceremonies at Linn Park from noon to 1:00 p.m. A green-carpet community reception will be held that evening from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Birmingham Museum of Art. This event will be held in conjunction with the Birmingham City Council.
“The citizens I have met over the past year know I am not a red-carpet kind of guy,” Woodfin said. “Along with the Birmingham City Council, we are hosting a green-carpet community reception to recognize all of the thousands of people who worked at the grassroots level to make our election a reality. We want this to be a festive evening for all of Birmingham to celebrate.”
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama with 214,227 residents; but it the 97th largest city in America. The city peaked in population in 1960 at 340,087 but has seen decades of decline since then.
Woodfin defeated incumbent William Bell in October. Bell was hampered during his administration because Birmingham is one of the few major cities in the country that do not have a combined form of government with the county. Jefferson County has 660,367 residents scattered among 50 different city governments. Worse, Jefferson County owns all the sewers while the Birmingham Waterworks Board is a pseudo governmental entity that controls all of the water supply and delivery system for the city and beyond. The City of Birmingham controls only a fraction of the land in its own county and does not control either the water or the sewers even within its own city limits. When Jefferson County bankrupted on its multi-billion sewer debt, Birmingham became less attractive to investors, with the uncertainty of what would happen to the sewer debt crisis.
Woodfin inherits a much more robust overall economy than Bell inherited from Mayor Larry Langford, who is still in federal prison due to corruption and bribery convictions for his role in the sewer debt crisis while Chairman of the Jefferson County Commission.