Hayes tapped as commissioner

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Chelsea optometrist Dr. Robbie Hayes is Shelby County’s newest commissioner.

Hayes was appointed to the position last week by Gov. Bob Riley to fill the remainder of the term of Don Armstrong.

Armstrong was appointed to the property tax commissioner post left vacant by the retirement of Annette Skinner.

Hayes said he was excited about this new opportunity to serve.

&8220;I couldn’t be happier,&8221; he said. &8220;I was looking for a place to serve and I thought I might try the Board of Education.&8221;

Hayes said after Armstrong was appointed property tax commissioner, filling the vacant position on the county commission was suggested to him.

&8220;I would never have thought of running against Don Armstrong,&8221; he said. But when presented with the opportunity to fulfill Armstrong’s term, his interest was piqued.

&8220;I did some research and decided I was interested.&8221;

Hayes said he realizes the shoes he will try to fill are big ones.

&8220;I think (Don Armstrong’s) done a wonderful job,&8221; he said. &8220;He’s conscientious and extremely knowledgeable and from all accounts, he’s been the ideal person to watch over the county’s finances.&8221;

Hayes said he had no doubt Armstrong would do well for Shelby County as property tax commissioner.

As for his expectations, Hayes said he’s trying to go into his new position &8220;as a blank slate.&8221;

&8220;I don’t want to go in there with a pre-selected agenda,&8221; he said. &8220;I want to go in and really learn this job; because I’ve only looked at the county commission from the outside.&8221;

He said he planned to spend time visiting with officials such as County Manager Alex Dudchock and County Engineer Randy Cole, &8220;to get a full view of the workings of the county from the inside out.&8221;

Hayes is the owner of Hayes Eye Center in Chelsea. He lives in Chelsea with his wife, Kim, and three children.

He graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry in 1988, having earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from UAB in 1984. He graduated from Pelham High School in 1979.

His interest in community service was fostered in college, Hayes said, where he served as president of the Student Government Association at UAB in 1983.

&8220;I was fairly active on the student level,&8221; he said. &8220;I worked in a lot of different areas (of community service) at UAB.&8221;

He has also been an active member of the Shelby County Republican Party for 10 or 12 years, he said.

He certainly grew up among community service. Hayes is the son of longtime Pelham Mayor Bobby Hayes.

&8220;Of course, I’ve learned a lot from watching him over the years,&8221; he said.

Hayes is a founding member of the Kiwanis Club of Chelsea and served as the club’s first president.

He is also a founding member of Morningstar United Methodist Church, where he has served as a lay leader, trustee, nursery co-coordinator and church council chair.

He has served on the planning committee of the Town of Chelsea and is currently involved in several areas of the towns youth sports programs.