Friday, November 19, 2010

Birmingham City Council interviews 11 candidates for Water Works Board seat

Published: Monday, November 15, 2010, 11:15 PM ??? Updated: Monday, November 15, 2010, 11:16 PM

Members of a Birmingham City Council committee tonight made no immediate recommendation to fill an open seat on the Birmingham Water Works Board after interviewing all 11 candidates.

The candidates are: Fultondale Mayor Jim Lowery, whose seat has expired; Mountain Brook Mayor Terry Oden; Ann Florie, executive director of Leadership Birmingham; Edwin Revell; David Russell; Herbert Patterson Jr.; Robert Smith; VeLinda A.J. Weatherly; Anje Roney; Anthony A. Johnson and Desiree Celeste Alexander.

The council's utilities committee consists of Carole Smitherman, Steven Hoyt and Maxine Parker. Smitherman has recused herself from the process. Her husband, state Sen. Rodger Smitherman, is a lawyer who works with Charlie Waldrep, whose firm represents the utility.

Water Works Board members are paid $285 per meeting and decide on major contracts with engineers, lawyers and consultants for the state's largest public water utility. A seat on the five-member authority is among the most sought after and debated city appointments.

Seven of the nine council members attended the interviews and several asked questions. Smitherman, the committee chairwoman, attended the meeting but didn't question candidates. Hoyt chaired the meeting.

The committee will meet again to discuss the interviews and vote on a recommendation to send to the council. A date has not been set. The council is not bound to accept the committee's recommendation.

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