WBHM reports: Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford's trial is underway. As Langford's fate hangs in the balance at the Tuscaloosa federal courthouse, many in Birmingham wonder what will happen to his job as mayor if he's convicted. WBHM's Bradley George takes a look at some of the possibilities. ...
Birmingham-Southern political scientist Natalie Davis says the succession part of the Mayor-Council Act was written with the possible death of a mayor in mind, not so much a criminal conviction.
'To the extent that there might be these little tripwires along the way, as far as the timing of this stuff happens, I doubt anybody gave that any thought.
The biggest hang up has to do with a possible verdict in Langford's trial. Attorneys expect the trial to last about two weeks--meaning the Tuscaloosa jury could reach a verdict sometime in early November. If he's guilty, Langford would be removed from office and city council president Carole Smitherman becomes mayor. But election lawyer Ed Still says Smitherman won't have much time to get comfy in the mayor's seat.
'The president of the council only serves until the new people take office.'
The 'new people' would be the two new council members elected this year. They take office the end of November. The new council could decide to keep Smitherman as president, or they could pick someone else. If that's the case, the new council president becomes Birmingham's THIRD mayor of 2009. Oh and here's the other thing about the City Council president becoming mayor. Ed Still says their council seat goes into a kind of suspended animation. The seat is vacant as long as the council president serves as mayor.
'Her seat can't be filled because she's going to come back to it. If she says immediately, 'I'm going to run for mayor', her seat can't be filled because theoretically she can come back to it because if she doesn't win the special mayor's election.' -- Read the whole story --> If He's Found Guilty, Who Succeeds Langford? (WBHM - NPR News and Classical Music)