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Alabama’s ‘Big 5’ mayors meet in Birmingham

Published on November 9, 2017

photo of Big 5 Mayors Meeting

The mayors of Alabama’s five largest cities gathered Wednesday and Thursday in Birmingham to share ideas and best practices from their respective communities.

The “Big 5” mayors, representing Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, meet quarterly to discuss issues they can work on together.

The meeting was scheduled in Birmingham so the group could say farewell to one of its founding members, Mayor William Bell of Birmingham, and welcome a new member in Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin.

“We wanted to thank William for his service and his friendship as he moves to the next chapter in his life,” said Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange. “We’ve all enjoyed the opportunity to work with him and there’s no question his experience has helped each of us as leaders in our own communities.”

Woodfin, who takes office Nov. 28, joined the group for a meeting over breakfast Thursday in downtown Birmingham.

“As a new mayor I am looking forward to joining the Big 5 and learning from the other four,” Woodfin said. “We often look outside of Alabama to find new ideas when in fact there are great leaders doing great things right here in our own cities. I’m excited to be part of that.”

The mayors discussed topics including public safety, economic development and city finances. They also discussed legislative priorities ahead of the upcoming 2018 session of the Alabama Legislature.

“As mayors, our primary responsibility is the safety and security of our citizens,” said Mayor Sandy Stimpson of Mobile. “Crime is a challenge in cities across America and we are laser focused on doing all we can to create safe neighborhoods in each of our communities.”

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said the ideas shared during the meeting will make each of the cities stronger, which translates to a stronger Alabama.

“Mayors focus on where the rubber hits the road as far as solutions for our citizens to improve the quality of life and create opportunities for economic development,” Battle said.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said the mayors each face demanding public schedules but that the time together is always well spent.

“It is always enlightening to hear how each of the mayors handles the difficult, day-to-day challenges that each of us must face,” Maddox said. “When we work together, we can do great things for our entire state.”