By ARTHUR L. MACK
MOBILE — A large number of people came out in support of Mobile City Councilman Fred Richardson for city council president and two people addressed the council reiterating their support during Tuesday’s city council meeting.
First, Kevin Ball addressed the council, saying Richardson has his full support as council president.
“I want to go on record as having full support for Fred Richardson for city council president,” he said. “I humbly request the recommendation for the vote.”
Richardson thanked Ball for his support and urged those who came out to support him to not give up on their efforts.
“Sometimes, God will turn a dungeon of darkness into an oasis of light,” he said. “The message is, don’t give up. Keep hope alive, because they departed from a 32-year tradition and we don’t know where the path will lead us.”
David J Smith of the Mobile County NAACP was even more direct in his support for Richardson, saying the city not only broke with a tradition by using a straw poll to select the council president, but seemingly ignored Richardson’s years of service, especially when the first time he qualified to serve as council president, protocol was changed.
“He’s always tried to work with his peers,” Smith said of Richardson. “The last time the city broke with tradition was when the council presidency was vacated due to retirement. When he (Richardson) decided to run for council president again, the straw poll was declared to be illegal, and Richardson’s four-vote majority was invalid. Why is the longest-serving member of this body not worthy to serve as council president?”
Meanwhile, the city council voted to hold over for two weeks a professional services contract with Lose and Associates, Inc. for consulting services to help the city develop a citywide parks and recreation system improvement plan in the amount of $277,000.
However, council members voted to reallocate $75,000 to be used for a grant match to construct sidewalks along Airport Boulevard. In addition, they also authorized a contract with Goram Air Conditioning Company for Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center’s chiller replacement in the amount of $141,000, as well as a contract with Melvin Pierce Painting for dormitory plaster and painting for Fire Station No. 4 in the amount of $11,800.