By Gunnar Sadowey
Twenty-two Jefferson County mayors announced the “Good Neighbor Pledge,” a pact to combat poaching among cities and to promote enduring economic growth for the region, according to a press release issued by the Birmingham City Council.
Mayors representing the cities of Argo, Bessemer, Birmingham, Brighton, Center Point, Clay, Fairfield, Graysville, Homewood, Hoover, Lipscomb, Midfield, Mountain Brook, Mulga, Pleasant Grove, Sylvan Springs, Tarrant, Trafford, Trussville, Vestavia Hills, Warrior and West Jefferson all signed the pact.
By signing the pact, mayors pledged to avoid luring businesses away from other cities within Jefferson County.
“When one of us gains a business at the expense of one of our neighbors, we’re not creating new jobs or expanding opportunity in the county,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said according to a press release.
“What really serves our citizens is attracting new businesses and helping our existing businesses thrive and expand.”
The pact rose from conversations amongst the Jefferson County Mayors Association involving similar topics within the past year and was facilitated by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham in order to promote job growth in Jefferson County.
The pact is based on successful no-poaching agreements used in various counties throughout the country. It identifies the first attempt of Jefferson County to create a standard of conduct regarding business relocations and employment.
In addition to setting a standard for the modern economy of Jefferson County, the agreement contains the procedures for handling disputes that may arise in the future.
“As we worked through the language, we talked about situations that may not be clear-cut or that might not quite fit into our model,” Mountain Brook Mayor Stewart Welch said according to a press release. “In those cases, an advisory council will provide a fair forum for us to talk through issues on the front end, offer some guidance and hopefully resolve conflicts.”
Jefferson County Commissioner Steve Ammons, an important figure in the pact’s development, praised mayors for their guidance and vision for the potential of their respective cities.
“Other metro areas in the U.S. have experienced considerable success by working to rein in internal competition and focus on collective growth,” Ammons said according to a press release. “Our mayors recognized they could get better results by focusing on true economic gains rather than fighting each other for what’s already here. Their efforts will not only pay dividends for their constituents but for generations to come.”