I wrote most of this piece about Commissioner Carrington a few months ago, but did not publish it for fear it would appear too political.
Now that the Jefferson County Commission election is over, I feel more comfortable making my comments. Commissioner Carrington has been reelected and Commissioner Jimmie Stephens has been elected President.
I’m not saying Commissioner Carrington is better or worse than any other commissioner–I just happen to know David better. I do feel strongly that our County Commission–though not perfect–did a credible job with the hand it was dealt.
My comments about David Carrington
Listening to people talk about politicians is depressing. The approval rating of our President is very low and our Congress–even lower.
Folks in Jefferson County are extremely skeptical of our County Commissioners–and for good reason–many of our previous Commissioners were convicted and we’ll be paying the price for their dishonesty for generations to come.
Mention the word ‘politician’ and you hear…
“Politicians only care about being reelected.”
“Politicians tell us what we want to hear.”
“Politicians are only interested in themselves.”
If we could choose the most important trait for a public official we would probably want a man or woman with strong personal convictions who doesn’t mind risking his/her political career for the betterment of our community.
That would describe David Carrington.
I know this will sound hokey to some of you but Commissioner Carrington feels he has a calling from God.
He sure doesn’t need the money—he’s a successful business man–and he certainly doesn’t need the grief and aggravation. Personally, I think he’s nuts for taking the job.
He constantly tells his staff…
“I don’t care.”
What he’s saying is he doesn’t care about being reelected. He just wants what is best for Jefferson County–and if some people get upset–that’s just too bad.
And when Carrington follows his conscience without worry of political consequences, it makes some people angry and creates enemies and critics.
County Commissioners often distance themselves from Carrington as detailed in this al.com piece from June 20, 2014. Carrington answers his critics by saying…
“None of my positions, statements or decisions are based on what is politically correct…They are based on what I believe to be, after careful consideration and prayer, to be right.”
But Carrington’s strong positions sometimes place his fellow commissioners in an awkward position. In the article above commissioners were quoted…
“Carrington speaks for himself and not the commission as a whole….There is no one voice to be heard representing the Jefferson County Commission.”
Since Carrington was elected from a single district and not from all of Jefferson County, he does not speak for the commission as a whole. In fact, that’s one of the big flaws with our county government structure. There is no executive or executive branch of government and therefore there’s no single individual who can speak for our county. Can you imagine a state or country without a Governor or President?
I have great confidence in newly elected President Jimmie Stephens, but he won’t be able to speak for the other commissioners either.
Carrington is not a perfect elected official—he’s human. And it would be unrealistic to believe all his decisions are going to be popular. But I do know that David is on a mission to make Jefferson County work–and I respect him for that.
We spent the past four years digging ourselves out of a huge hole. It’s time for all of us to work together to move Jefferson County ahead.
David Carrington will continue to tell his staff ‘he doesn’t care,’ but since he’s a man with a calling–he will continue to make decisions–whether popular or not– based on his convictions.
(Editor’s note: A few of us are working behind the scenes to assemble some political and community leaders to discuss possible changes to our government structure. I called Carrington to ask about possible committee members and his first comment was, “You need to include more African-Americans”—quite enlightening since there are very few in his district)
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David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12 Advertising Agency and co-CEO of AmSher Collection Agency. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).