JeffCo lawmakers spar over county manager's job

JeffCo lawmakers spar over county manager's job

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Jefferson County commissioners. Source: WBRC video Jefferson County commissioners. Source: WBRC video
County Manager Tony Petelos' job is being questioned by Birmingham Rep. Mary Moore. County Manager Tony Petelos' job is being questioned by Birmingham Rep. Mary Moore.

Some Jefferson County lawmakers continue to spar over the need for a county manager's job.

Today the Jefferson County legislative delegation took up issues concerning the county manager and Cooper Green Mercy Health Services.

Birmingham Rep. Mary Moore has introduced a bill which would eliminate Tony Petelos' position. Moore contends the county violated a federal consent decree by not considering more applicants, especially women and African Americans.

"I'm just disturbed about that. If anybody else was doing this it would be up in arms. I just think we have turned into a lawless county," Moore said.

Moore also claims the county commissioners continue to violate the current law for the job by interfering in the day to day operations of the county. Jefferson County Commissioners deny Petelos was hired improperly or they are interfering in his job.

Homewood Representative Paul DeMarco sponsored the original county manager's job. DeMarco opposes any effort to eliminate it.

"I think it's the wrong move and I reject the move to repeal the county manager. The system is working. We needed to change the form of government in Jefferson County," DeMarco said.

In other business Wednesday, the delegation approved a bill calling for a quarterly audit of how money is spent on indigent healthcare. Most of those funds go to Cooper Green Mercy Health Services to treat the poor. The delegation removed penalties against county commissioners for failing to do so.

The taxpayers in Jefferson County will get a chance to weigh in on the county manager's job. A tentative public hearing has been set for Monday, March 4.

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