Shelby County Commission elects new chairman

By MICHAEL J. BROOKS

Special to the Reporter

COLUMBIANA – Elwyn Bearden has been elected chairman of the Shelby County Commission and will assume office at the next meeting on Nov. 12.

“I’m humbled by the support of fellow commissioners, and I hope to continue the good work they’ve done and not mess it up!” he said with a laugh.

Bearden is in his eighth year as District 5 commissioner and has qualified with the Alabama Republican Party to run for a third term next year.

“In fact, all nine of us have qualified to run as Republicans,” he said of his fellow commissioners.

Bearden explained that the chairman is elected to a two-year term, generally, though he may not serve that long, or may serve longer at the discretion of fellow commissioners.

When asked about positive changes he’s seen during his terms, Bearden said the turn-around in the economy has been most significant.

“We saw some declining budgets, but now they’re going up again,” he said. “It’s always better to have some extra funds we can spread around to help with various projects.”

Bearden said he thought the economic outlook was due to a number of factors, but whatever the case, he’s glad the county is doing well.

Bearden is a resident of Helena and a graduate of Helena High School. He ran a dairy farm before selling it several years ago.

“My grandfather bought the farm in 1929, and he purchased it from his cousin who bought it in 1880, so my family doesn’t move much!” he said.

Bearden has three adult children, two of which live in Helena and the third in Pelham. He also has four grandchildren.

“We live close enough to go trick-or-treating together,” he said.

Bearden will take over the chairmanship from Jon Parker. Commissioners also re-elected District 9 Commissioner Robbie Hayes as vice-chairman of the Commission.

The Shelby County Commission meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. The first meeting is at 8:30 a.m., and the second meeting is at 6 p.m.

The first meeting in November is delayed to Nov. 12 due to the Veterans Day holiday.

The commission meets in the Shelby County Administration building in Columbiana. The public is always invited, Bearden said.

The county website is ShelbyAL.com.