Alabama League of Municipalities
The Alabama League of Municipalities is a membership organization established to promote the interests of municipal governments in the Alabama Legislature and elsewhere, and, later, to share information on good governance and compliance with legal and ethical responsibilities of local government officials.
The first attempt to organize representation for towns and cities was the Alabama Association of Mayors and City Commissioners, formed in 1926 at a meeting in Fairfield. With no revenues or permanent staff, the association was largely ineffective. The group adopted its present name in 1928. In 1935 the League won grant funding from the American Municipal Association (now the National League of Cities) to hire an executive director. At the recommendation of Governor Bibb Graves they offered the position to his former legislative liaison, Ed Reid.
Though only 25 at the time, Reid was an experienced legislative staffer and a former newspaper editor. He secured additional grant funding from the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial. Among the priorities for the League were lobbying for ways to secure stable public funding, a difficult challenge in context of the limits on home rule in the Alabama Constitution of 1901. Among the small victories for the League were a state law that made the Alabama Highway Department responsible for maintaining state and federal roads inside municipal boundaries. Reid was well-respected for his depth of knowledge on local government matters and was considered highly influential in state politics and in the National League of Cities.
In 1937 the Alabama League of Municipalities issued its first edition of the Alabama Municipal News, later renamed the Alabama Municipal Journal. It also publishes The Handbook for Mayors and Councilmembers every four years.
After Reid's death in 1965 he was succeeded as director by John Watkins, who helped the process of steering state revenues from offshore petroleum leases into a trust fund which supports municipal capital projects. He oversaw the construction of a dedicated office building for the League in 1979, and established the Municipal Workers Compensation Fund (MWCF) in 1976 to provide worker's comp coverage to municipal employees.
Perry Roquemore Jr succeeded Watkins at his retirement in 1986. He led the creation of the Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation (AMIC), which later entered into a joint loss-control agreement with the MWCF. The Alabama Municipal Funding Corporation (AMFund) was launched in 2006 to provide low-cost financing for municipal projects. He also led the League in forming the Alabama Association of Municipal Attorneys which operates a certification program for municipal officials, and the Alabama Municipal Judges Association.
Roquemore's deputy director, Ken Smith, took over the job in 2011. He has focused on building up the League's technology infrastructure, including the introduction of Municipal Intercept Services, which helps cities recover unpaid debts. Smith retired in 2020 and was succeeded by his deputy, Greg Cochran.
- Banks, Carrie (Summer 2020) "Alabama League of Municipalities." Alabama Heritage. No. 137, pp. 40–49
- Alabama League of Municipalities website