Jefferson County Commission

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Jefferson County Seal.png
Commissioners for 2018-2022 and 2022-2026

The Jefferson County Commission is a five-member group granted legislative and executive duties for Jefferson County. The Commissioners, formerly elected at-large, are now elected by district to four year terms. Each commissioner, in addition to representing his or her district, is given charge of a department of the county for administration. The commission elects its own President, who chairs commission meetings and has executive duties over the county as a whole.

Duties of the commission include administration of county funds and custodianship of county property, collection of taxes passed by state law, construction and maintenance of public facilities, provision of public utilities and services, and making appointments to various boards and agencies.


As of 1884, the Commission met on the second Mondays of February, July and August; and on the first Mondays of April and November; or as needed.

By 1890 residents of Jefferson County were complaining of excessive compensation for County Commissioners, who were entitled by law to receive $5 for each day conducting county business, which was stretched in practice to every business day.

In 1892 the Alabama General Assembly passed a bill restricting the days that the Commissioner's Court could meet in session to 10 in each calendar month, excepting the three months during which it was engaged in equalizing the taxation of property. Later the responsibility of inspecting roads was largely given over to a newly-created Jefferson County Road Commission.

In January 1899 Governor Joseph Johnston conducted a review of the Commission's work and concluded that, "a very irregular and unbusinesslike state of affairs existed," that, "many contracts were given to relatives," that, "they have drawn large amounts from the treasury for themselves in violation of the law," and that, "the affairs of the county are managed with reckless extravagance."

Shortly afterward the Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill (H. 986) which would abolish the Commissioner's Court and replace it with a five-member Jefferson County Board of Revenue. The house bill received an unfavorable report from the Alabama State Senate's committee on local laws. During debate in the Senate on February 17, the bill was amended to give the Judge of Probate responsibility for presiding over a four-member elected board. That version was passed.

In 1901 a separate Jefferson County Sanitary Commission was created to plan and implement a Jefferson County Sewer System with waste treatment plants to end the practice of letting raw sewage flow into Village Creek and Valley Creek. After the initial planning was completed, the commission was dissolved and the responsibility passed back to the County Commission.

In 1931 the Alabama State Legislature abolished the five-member Board of Revenue and established a three-person County Commission. As instituted, the members would serve staggered 6-year terms with an election every two years. However in 1935 the Legislature changed the schedule so that all three members would serve at-large, and be elected together to 2-year terms.

No Black commissioners were ever elected to the 3-member at-large commission. A suit brought in U.S. District Court, Michael Taylor, et al. v. Jefferson County Commission, et al, resulted in a 1985 consent decree that expanded the commission to 5 members, each representing a voting district, two of which were drawn as majority-Black. A lawsuit brought in 2023 argued that subsequent reapportionments have increasingly packed Black voters into those two districts, and that a more equitable map would include at least one "crossover district" with no clear racial majority.

Jefferson County Commission
District 1 Lashunda Scales District 2 Sheila Tyson District 3 Jimmie Stephens
District 4 Joe Knight District 5 Mike Bolin


Before 1931



  • 2002–2006:
    • District 1: Larry Langford, President. Commissioner of Finance and General Services
    • District 2: Shelia Smoot, Commissioner of Roads & Transportation and Community & Economic Development
    • District 3: Mary Buckelew, Commissioner of Technology and Land Development
    • District 4: Bettye Fine Collins, Commissioner of Health and Human Services
    • District 5: Gary White, Commissioner of Environmental Services
Jefferson County Seal.png Jefferson County

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  • "Journal of the Senate of the State of Alabama, Session of 1898-9." (1900) Alabama State Senate. Jacksonville, Florida: Vance Printing Co.
  • Wright, Barnett (September 5, 2019) "With Top Republicans At Odds, Democrats Shift Balance of Power In Jeffco." The Birmingham Times
  • Swetlik, Sarah (April 7, 2023) "Jefferson County sued over alleged racial gerrymandering, vote packing"
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (August 31, 2023) "Federal judge to decide whether new Jefferson County Commission district lines are racially unfair."
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (December 23, 2023) "Future of Jefferson County’s political leadership proceeds to federal court."