Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
To get where it is today, Jefferson County has suffered from a lot of bad luck. But, you'd also struggle to find a worse-managed county.
Too harsh? Check out this story from the Birmingham News and decide for yourself:
Documentation is missing on 123 Jefferson County contracts totaling at least $45 million, with some lacking sufficient information to determine whether the contract is expired or active, according to county records.
Those include contracts between the county and dozens of businesses such as architectural firms, engineering firms, law firms, janitorial services, nursing services and the Birmingham Water Works Board.
In many of the cases, the county is missing the entire contract. In some, only a cover sheet exists. In others, the county has a copy of the contract, but the contract does not specify general conditions of the agreement.
For some local governments, $45 million may be a pittance. In Jefferson County, though, the annual budget is only a bit more than $200 million, so we're talking about real money.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.