Montgomery earned his college degree in business administration and opened an electronics store in East Birmingham. He was active in the Bridlewood community, serving as president and vice-president of his neighborhood association and helping secure flood relief work there. He also organized two neighborhood watch groups in the community.
Montgomery was first elected to the City Council in 2001 and re-elected with 54.5% percent of votes in 2005. On the council, Montgomery has crafted a noise ordinance and an ordinance regarding the booting of cars. He campaigned unsuccessfully against Birmingham's ban on smoking in restaurants. He also chaired the Public Safety and Utilities committees. He ran for re-election in the 2009 race, but was defeated by Lashunda Scales. In his 2009 campaign for re-election he ran on a platform of economic development and education.
Montgomery is a member of St John's Methodist Church.
 Public intoxication report
On April 7, 2007 Montgomery was arrested at Cobb Lane and 14th Street South by Birmingham police for public intoxication. He was first taken to Cooper Green Mercy Hospital because of bruises and lacerations on his face and chest, and then booked at the Birmingham City Jail. Birmingham Municipal Court judge K. C. Hairston dismissed the charges against him on August 17. In January 2008 a judge declined to reinstate charges despite a request by prosecutors who claimed that Montgomery had failed to follow through on a verbal agreement to undergo counseling for alcohol abuse.
On July 25, 2008, Montgomery's attorney Jon Vickers filed a lawsuit against J. H. Berry & Co, owners of the parking lot at 14th Avenue and 20th Street South, claiming that the wall in the parking lot should have handrails and better lighting.
 Domestic abuse allegations
Montgomery married a woman named Cynthia in June 2008. Cynthia left the couple's home on January 12, 2009. After she was reported missing she telephoned the Birmingham Police Department's family services unit to attest to her safety. She subsequently filed a police report alleging verbal and physical abuse from her husband that prompted her to leave. Councilor Montgomery filed for divorce soon afterward.
|Birmingham City Council District 1 Representative|
- Bryant, Walter (April 7, 2007) "City councilman arrested for public intoxication." Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph (August 17, 2007) "Judge dismisses charge against Birmingham City Councilman." Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph (January 17, 2008) "Montgomery's case dismissed." Birmingham News
- Velasco, Eric (July 30, 2008) "Councilman Joel Montgomery sues lot owner over 2007 fall." Birmingham News
- Robinson, Carol (January 13, 2009) "Birmingham council man's wife tells police she's safe after being reported missing." Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (February 4, 2009) "Birmingham City Councilman Joel Montgomery's wife alleges abuse, intimidation." Birmingham News
- "Birmingham City Council elections: District 1 candidate Joel Montgomery." (August 12, 2009) Birmingham News