Robert McKenna is a clinical psychologist and the owner and manager of The Clubhouse on Highland. He was formerly the executive director of Computer Help for Kids, and served as a liaison to the Birmingham City Council on Mayor Larry Langford's staff.
In 2004 McKenna purchased what was then known as the "Women's Club House" and served as "resident caretaker" while the Alabama Federated Women’s Clubs continued to meet there. Wheelchair-bound due to a spinal cord injury, McKenna applied for a permit to install a residential elevator at the house. During an inspection of the work, the Birmingham Department of Planning, Engineering & Permits informed McKenna that his occupation of the house while using it as a business was in violation of its zoning. A warrant was issued and he was arrested and booked at Birmingham Police Headquarters. McKenna was found not guilty in the Birmingham Municipal Court in 2006.
McKenna claimed that his arrest resulted from his challenge of long-time Highland Parks neighborhood president Alison Glascock in a redo of the 2004 Birmingham neighborhood elections, scheduled for April 19 by the Birmingham City Council. The planned re-vote was nullified by Mayor Bernard Kincaid. McKenna filed a lawsuit against the City of Birmingham for alleged false arrest, malicious prosecution, and various violations of his civil rights. Those claims were dismissed under summary judgment by Karon Bowdre in 2008.
While at City Hall, McKenna also oversaw the implementation of Langford's plan to purchase and distribute XO laptops to Birmingham City Schools students. His position was eliminated by incoming Mayor William Bell in March 2010.
- Reynolds, Ed (April 7, 2005) "City Hall — Highland Park Neighborhood Politics." Black & White