After former mayor and city commissioner Patty Bordman passed the gavel at the city commission meeting on Monday, November 11, new city commissioners Clinton Baller, Brad Host and Therese Longe, along with current commissioner Pierre Boutros, were sworn in for a four-year term, and then the entire commission unanimously elected Boutros as the new city mayor.
The commission meeting was split in two on November 11, as the first part began with a thank you to Bordman and fellow commissioners Andy Harris and Carroll DeWeese. Harris chose not to run for another term, while Bordman and DeWeese failed in their re-election efforts on November 5. Each served the community for one four-year term. Harris was not in attendance at the meeting.
“Mayor Bordman, we thank you for your service for the last four years. We appreciate you,” Boutros, as mayor pro tem, said.
Bordman, addressing the city, said, “One of the pleasures of Birmingham mayors was sharing in the happiness of others' happiness, officiating at weddings. I attended many, many ribbon cuttings, signed over 50 contracts on behalf of the city… The real work of Birmingham is not achievement of one person. It requires seven commissioners working together for one goal – what is the best for the city of Birmingham. That does not always mean there were not differences of opinions. I am proud of my tenure, both as commissioner and as mayor. I am particularly proud that as mayor we maintained a cooperative atmosphere.”
“It's a great privilege in the city I love to serve on the city commission,” DeWeese said. “I'd like to thank the city manager, and all the men and women who volunteer on all the commissions and boards. One of the jobs of the commission is to find a balance, and not for one group or interest.”
After the new commissioners were sworn in, Boutros was nominated to be the new mayor for Birmingham for the year, and all seven commissioners voted for him.
“I am honored to represent our great city as your next mayor,” Boutros said. “I promise to serve you with honesty, integrity and respect. Communications are not about buildings or streets, but about people, and that is what will be the focus of my term.”
In an unprecedented move, Baller then nominated Longe as mayor pro tem; typically mayor pro tem is a commissioner with a minimum of a year of experience, which commissioner Mark Nickita pointed out.
“I have just one comment – mayor pro tem usually sets up for mayor. Usually there is some experience leading up to mayor pro tem so that if they have to step in as mayor… I have some reluctance in supporting Ms. Longe,” Nickita said. “Usually, we've had someone on the commission for at least one year – that's been the case for over half a century. I support her. I just feel there needs to be a year of experience on the commission. I'm uncomfortable with that so I cannot support the motion.”
Commissioner Stuart Sherman concurred.
However, Longe was voted in as mayor pro tem by a vote of 4-3, with commissioner Rackeline Hoff joining Nickita and Sherman in opposition.