David Carrington: “I don’t care!”

Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington with Commission President Jimmy Stephens
Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington with Commission President Jimmie Stephens

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)

Let’s turn Birmingham around.  Click here to sign up for our newsletter.  There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)

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).

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5 thoughts on “David Carrington: “I don’t care!””

  1. Great article describing David. I see many improvements in Jefferson County during the last couple of years.  The most noticeable one is the much shorter wait time to do business in the auto license department.  Thank you David Carrington!

  2. *”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?”

    Do you really think the President of the United States speaks for all? How would having a county wide elected commission president be any different that a country wide elected president? 

    It’s politics, it’s devisive, it’s the nature or culture of people not just in Jefferson County Alabama but in all of the USA. Republicans would rather see Obama fail than the country succeed. Democratics would rather see republicans fail and fall flat on their face than for the country to move ahead and succeed.

    Know that government structure is nothing more than a tool in which to aid in the administration of a peaceful society. Just as my smart phone is nothing more than a tool I use to access information and stay connected to friends/family.

    A tool by itself isn’t good or bad. A knife can be a great tool by someone skilled in carving such as an artist, a butcher, or hunter. The tool by itself can’t create art or produce fine cuts of meat. No for that to happen the tool must be used by a person with skill, which usually comes through experience. 

    Now to the point of my comment: No matter what tool (government structure) is provided if the people are not skilled, then end result will not be satisfactory. Give me a block of wood and a knife and you’ll get a non descript cut-up piece of gnarly wood.

    So it’s not about the tool…it’s about the operator at the other end of the tool.

    That’s my 2 cents.

    1. Johnny, Thanks for your comments. I agree 100% that it’s the people that matter, but when our founders formed our federal government they created three branches so that there would be a balance of powers. There are no checks and balances in Jefferson County government. That’s why we have had so many County Commissioners convicted. We have legislative and judicial–but no executive branch. Hasn’t worked out very well for us.

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