Brewton council members, mayor attend convention

Published 10:03 pm Monday, June 30, 2008

By Staff
On May 17-10, Brewton City Council members Cary Barton and William McGhee and Mayor Ted Jennings joined an estimated 1,500 municipal officials, clerks and administrators in Birmingham for the 2008 annual convention of the Alabama League of Municipalities.
Officials convened Saturday, May 17, for a special resolutions committee meeting where delegates were presented reports and policy recommendations for the league's five standing committees: finance, administration and intergovernmental relations; energy, environment and natural resources; transportation, public safety and communication; human development; and community and economic development. Resolutions on state and federal issues were also discussed and prepared for presentation for voting delegates at the annual business session held Tuesday, May 20.
On Saturday afternoon, elected municipal officials, city clerks and city administrators from small, medium and large-sized cities met in separate rooms of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex to network and learn from each other.
Each round-table discussion was led by a league attorney who was available to answer questions and participate in the group discussion. On Sunday afternoon, a special general session titled “2010: Year of Alabama Small Towns and Downtowns,” led by state tourism director Lee Sentell was offered for delegates followed by a presentation of the league's 2008 municipal achievement winners, a program recognizing successful and innovative municipal projects that improve quality of life and add value to the community by establishing partnerships and building community support.
During the opening general session on Monday morning at the BJCC, conference attendees were addressed by Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb; Mayor Sonny Penhale of Helena, then-president of the league; and councilmember Cynthia McCollum of Madison, president of the National League of Cities. McCollumn is the first elected official from Alabama to serve as president of the NLC, the national organization based in Washington, D.C., that represents municipal government at the federal level.
Delegates then attended a general session titled “2008 Municipal Elections” president by league Deputy Director/General Counsel Ken Smith. That afternoon, numerous concurrent sessions were held on topics such as HUD initiatives; getting ready for DTV; healthcare; and alternative fuels and vehicles.
The convention concluded Tuesday afternoon with a luncheon at which league officials were installed and distinguished service awards for municipal employees with 20, 30 and 40 years of service were presented. In 2009, the league's convention will be held in Montgomery from May 2-5.
Municipal officials participating in the leagues Certified Municipal Officials program received credit toward their certification for attending concurrent sessions during the convention.