Pelham City Council ends debate on contract with lobbying firm … for now

The Pelham City Council ended a month-long debate over a contract with a lobbying firm April 5 by voting down a resolution, 3-2, to extend a service agreement with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP.

The council previously authorized the resolution March 15, with members Teresa Nichols, Bill Meadows and President Mike Dickens voting for it, while members Steve Powell and Karyl Rice voted against it.

Mayor Don Murphy vetoed the measure the next day, but the veto was ruled void by regulations and guidelines set forth by the Alabama League of Municipalities.

Since Dickens voted for the measure the first time, he then requested it be brought up for reconsideration at the April 5 meeting, where he swapped his vote, thus killing the resolution.

After the exchange between the council and the mayor at the March 15 meeting was made public in an article in the Shelby County Reporter, Dickens said the lobbying firm sent a letter to both parties stating that it no longer wanted to be a divisive force in the city.

“It’s been so widely reported in the newspapers that the process has been tainted,” Dickens said.

Although Dickens did change his vote, he said he has not changed his mind on the issue of having a firm lobby for city funds.

“My feelings haven’t changed in terms of the viability of this group,” Dickens said of the firm. “Sometimes its wise to invest money to make money. People who get ahead in these tough times are the ones who take calculated risks.

“I think this is something I would like to see us, down the road, revisit,” he added.