Perkins Service Record as Mayor 2000 – 2008

City of Selma, Alabama, the third oldest incorporated community in the state of Alabama, chartered in 1820, noted for its unique civil war and civil rights history.  A community of 20,512 citizens, Selma is a riverfront ‘micropolitan’.  It is the county seat, located in the Black Belt Region, and the largest incorporated community between the state capital, Montgomery, and the Alabama-Mississippi state line.

Selma has a 9-member governing body and operates under a strong mayor municipal government structure. 

Because of Selma’s role during the civil war and civil rights eras, its brand has international name recognition.  Overtime, constant major community conflicts tarnished its brand and left the community with a declining population, no growth, and no prospects for improvements.  Accompanying its unique history were infrastructure, social, and economic challenges/opportunities considered by many experts to be some of the greatest in the nation.

 

When Perkins was elected mayor, goals set were: re-branding community and improving community image, increasing employment opportunities, supporting education and workforce development, and re-engineering service delivery systems, and the following are a few of his accomplishments.

Mayor – City of Selma 

 Accomplishments:

  • Performed daily executive oversight of 16 municipal government functions during day-to-day, emergency response, and catastrophe recovery operations with an average annual budget of $21 million and 300 full-time employees
  • Led the re-engineering of municipal government functions leading to a reduction of full-time municipal employees from 425 to 300 full-time employees
  • Increased minimum wage for hourly employees from $5.35/hour to $7.21/hr and salaried employees by as much as 50%
  • Leveraged municipal bond market to fund capital projects: $9.8 million for water and wastewater treatment facilities, $5.1 million for citywide capital equipment and facilities, and Board of Education central office building
  • Teamed with the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Authority (EDA), and Tourism Bureau to re-package Selma, reduce unemployment, and improve collaboration between these entities and municipal government by supporting the creation of the Centre for Commerce and Team Selma
  • Partnered with Team Selma and EDA to recruit 10 new industrial companies, 3 being automotive suppliers
  • Traveled internationally to Soule, South Korea, Benin, West Africa, and Bermuda seeking economic and community development opportunities
  • Led community during an unprecedented reduction in the unemployment rate from perpetual mid-to-upper teens (17% – 14%) to as low as 7%. (Note: In Dallas County, it takes a net increase of 200 jobs to move the unemployment rate 1%)
  • Collaborated with local community college to develop Selma Works, an innovative workforce development, education and training program designed to benchmark the knowledge and skills of citizens; develop individualized strategies for self-improvement; provide education remediation, job readiness and advanced job training; and support job placement
  • Implemented major fire department public safety improvements resulting in a reduction in the community’s insurance fire rating from a 5 to 4, thereby reducing the property insurance rates for citizens, and initiated processes that led to further reductions
  • Implemented major public safety strategies and improvements in the police department (e.g. GREAT – DOJ in-school gang prevention, PALS – Police Athletic League, CLEO – Community Law Enforcement Outreach) resulting in reduced major crimes and increased community policing
  • Improved housing and neighborhood conditions by demolishing over 450 dilapidated houses and started rebuilding campaign, completing nearly 200 multi-family and single-family units with 80 multi-family units under a $12 million modernization project
  • Coordinated a team of experts and initiated the development of a Comprehensive Strategic/Master Plan for city
  • Leveraged EPA Brownfield funding to complete environmental assessments; completed architectural and engineering plans, property acquisition and plans for re-development of historic downtown and riverfront
  • Made initial acquisition of 12 acres of riverfront property for the riverfront development
  • Initiated Water Avenue Sidewalk and Streetscape projects
  • Collaborated with federal and state transportation departments and National Park Services to acquire a commercial block of downtown historic property, and started the $10 million stabilization project in preparation for a $40 million-dollar voting rights interpretive museum and institute development to include IMAX and city’s first parking deck
  • Re-engineered and modernized numerous city services including: automated curb side garbage collection, thereby reducing collection days and number of trucks by 50%; incorporated office automation technology into all municipal functions; added regular staff meetings and increased inter-departmental collaboration; consolidated tax and license, and finance departments into single department; consolidated public works and general services departments into one public works department
  • Coordinated the development of operating and accounting procedures manuals for the water and wastewater utility and initiated the development of operating policies and procedures for every municipal department
  • Executed leadership resulting in 7 consecutive years of improved fiscal performance as reported by 3 independent CPA firms for the city and 4 consecutive years of improved fiscal performance for the water and wastewater utility
  • Solicited and received federal and state grants totaling $19 million for infrastructure, economic development, and community development and support
  • Never raised property or sales taxes on citizens of Selma
  • Superintendent – Selma Water Works and Sewer Board

    October 2004 – November 2008

    Selma Water Works and Sewer Board, operates water and wastewater treatment plants that service customers, residential and commercial.  The water and wastewater treatment plants were 40-year-old facilities with significant deferred maintenance. 

    As mayor, became superintendent of the Selma Water Works and Sewer Board.  As superintendent, responsibilities included day-to-day executive management of the water and wastewater utility. 

    Accomplishments:

  • Performed daily executive oversight of the water treatment and wastewater treatment plants with an average annual budget of approximately $5 million and 50 full-time employees (Note: Water Treatment Plant pump volume approximately 110 MG/M. Wastewater Treatment Plant design criteria of 6 MG/D with average daily flow of 3.9 MG/D.)
  • Managed development of written financial and personnel policies and procedures
  • Managed the implementation of major improvements to the utility’s infrastructure including initiated methane gas capture and reuse system within the wastewater plant creating an annual saving of $40,000 and improving energy efficiency
  • Initiated a $9.8 million capital improvement program including converting from a solid waste dry-bed system to a centrifuge technology system; replacing aeration system, primary and secondary clarifiers, and trickling filters within the wastewater plant; and upgrading electrical and SCADA systems, and replacing aerators within the water treatment plant; repairing and repainting all water tanks, removing unused tank; and repairing water mains throughout city
  • Initiated critical citywide fire hydrant upgrade replacing all reverse thread units with standard threads units bringing city into compliance with Homeland Security mutual aid agreement standards
  • Maintained all Environmental Protection Agency and Alabama Department of Environmental Management standards without exception
  • During 2006-07 droughts, developed and maintained citywide water rationing strategy, and activated new well