The elections for Birmingham neighborhood association officers will be moved to March 30, after city council members questioned the qualifications of the individuals running for office due to attendance guidelines in the city’s voting plan, as voted on by the council in a meeting on Tuesday.
“We have a requirement for attendance in order to run for officer and we have neighborhoods who have not held a meeting in a year,” said Councilmember Valarie Abbott, the only member who had questions about the motion.
The issue was raised before a consent vote to amend parts of the Citizens Participation Plan, which is the program providing a structured network of the neighborhood associations in Birmingham. Amendments added to the CP Plan will see modifications to the current election-related deadlines, as well as a change in the election date from October 2020 to March 30.
Abbott said it was required for officers to maintain attendance in meetings per the CP Plan and due to a lack of virtual meetings being held by neighborhoods in the past year, she proposed modifications to the program.
Alice Williams, the deputy director of Community Resource Services, said, “We put the announcement out this past April for the neighborhood meetings to resume virtually, So, they are aware of the requirements.”
Abbott said she believed the requirement meant there would be many current officers were no longer able to run for re-election.
“So, how is that going to work?” Abbott said.
Williams said the CP Plan also allows ineligible candidates to be voted on in future meetings after the election date.
“A lot of them have not met. We are using virtual meeting platform. But those people who don’t feel comfortable using that, they would just have to run during the normal neighborhood meeting process,” Williams said.
Abbott also asked if there is a current list of the names of all the neighborhoods’ executive committee members.
“What strikes me is that in some neighborhoods that’s whose making all of the decisions, and we don’t even know who those people are,” Abbott said.
Williams said they do not have a current list, but they would update the list and send it to the council.
The vote to move the date of the election passed unanimously, with Abbott voting in favor despite her questions about the process.
In other business, the board approved:
· A public hearing for March 23 to change Birmingham district zone boundaries to allow for a new Biblical Higher Education Institution.
· A public hearing for March 23 to change zone district boundaries from a Single-Family District to a Qualified Light Manufacturing District.
· Receiving the Emergency Purchase Notice from the Purchasing Agent relative to the flat roof on the fire equipment bay at Fire Station No. 19.
The next virtual finance meeting will be held on March 8 at 3:30 p.m. Submissions for the meeting are due on March 3 by noon.
Zac Fuller contributed to this report.