Birmingham City Council Confirms New President: Launches Inquiry into Previous Election Concerns

Birmingham City Council Confirms New President: During a special gathering on Friday morning, Birmingham City Council members formally picked Darrell O’Quinn as their new president amid doubts about Tuesday’s election results.

Now, Councilman Clinton P. Woods is urging an inquiry into the events leading to the confusion, fueled by community rumors of wrongdoing.

In the regular Tuesday council session, O’Quinn secured the presidency with just four votes from the nine-member body. Before Councilwoman Carol Clarke proposed O’Quinn, the incumbent, Wardine Alexander, and Woods were deadlocked with four votes each, with Clarke abstaining.

As O’Quinn garnered votes from Hunter Williams, Valerie Abbott, Clarke, and himself, he clinched the presidency. The council then elected Alexander as Pro Tem, replacing Councilwoman Crystal Smitherman.

Authorities nullified O’Quinn’s initial election, citing a misunderstanding of the Mayor-Council Act, which mandates that any measure must receive a majority vote from those present and voting.

Woods Inquires
During Friday’s meeting, Woods questioned City Clerk Lee Frazier about how the issue came to light and whether council members consulted with the city legal department or the clerk’s office on the possibility of electing a president without a majority vote.

“That would have to be answered by one of the council members,” Frazier said. “I haven’t, not from my standpoint… not from the standpoint of passing an item without a majority. That was not a topic of conversation.”

Woods also asked if other measures had been passed without a majority vote.

“Several items have been passed with four votes before,” Frazier said. “…It depends on the number of members present and voting.”

“Well, the majority is always the majority, regardless of how many,” Woods added before posing another question.

Birmingham City Council Confirms New President

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Investigation Not on Agenda
After the inquiries, Wood proposed a motion to introduce a formal investigation into Tuesday’s election to the meeting’s agenda. Unanimous consent is needed to introduce an item not already on the agenda, but Clarke opposed the motion, leading to its failure.

Woods still intends to bring the investigation before the council in the future. He emphasized the public’s demand for transparency and the need for a thorough investigation without delaying the vote for city council president.

In discussions with the press, Woods expressed the collective effort to uncover the truth. He declined specifics about the rumors, stating it would be inappropriate to disparage without information. Woods maintained his belief in O’Quinn as a hard-working leader.

O’Quinn Officially Prevails Over Alexander
During Friday’s city council president election, Woods nominated Alexander, while Clarke nominated O’Quinn. O’Quinn secured votes from Councilwoman Valerie Abbott, Williams, Moore, Clarke, and himself. Alexander received votes from Woods, Councilwoman LaTonya Tate, and herself. Smitherman chose to abstain.

Birmingham City Council Confirms New President

Clarke Silent on Birmingham-Southern
The election unfolded amid the ongoing crisis at Birmingham-Southern College (BSC), facing likely closure due to financial issues. The Alabama Legislature passed the Distressed Institutions of Higher Education Revolving Loan Program, granting $30 million.

After State Treasurer Young Boozer denied the loan, BSC attempted legal action, dismissed by Judge James Anderson. In August, the Birmingham City Council pledged $2.5 to $5 million to aid BSC, with Alexander opposing, suggesting alternative uses for the funds.

1819 News sought Clarke’s comments, but she had urgent commitments. Clarke remained silent on whether Alexander’s opposition to funding BSC influenced her stance against Alexander as city council president.