Sandy Stimpson

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Sandy Stimpson
108th Mayor of Mobile
Assumed office
November 4, 2013
Preceded bySam Jones
Personal details
Born (1952-04-04) April 4, 1952 (age 66)
Mobile, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Jean Miller (m. 1975)
Children4
Alma materUniversity of Alabama (BS)

William S. "Sandy" Stimpson (born April 4, 1952) is an American politician who serves as the current mayor of Mobile, Alabama. He was elected August 27, 2013, with 54% of the vote, defeating incumbent Mayor Sam Jones.[1] He ran on a platform of making Mobile the safest, most business and family-friendly city in America by 2020.[2][3][4][5] In 2017, he was reelected with 59% of the vote over Sam Jones.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Born (April 4, 1952) and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Stimpson is a 1970 graduate of the University Military School, now known as UMS-Wright and received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Alabama in 1975, where he was a member of Theta Tau Professional Engineering Fraternity.[7]

Career[edit]

Upon graduating from the University of Alabama, Stimpson began a 37-year career with Gulf Lumber Company, his father's company, and its successor, Scotch & Gulf Lumber. He was Chief Financial Officer prior to leaving the company to run for office in 2012.[8]

"One Mobile"[edit]

Campaign event

Stimpson developed the concept of "One Mobile" on the campaign trail and has carried it into office. A non-profit organization "OneMobile.org" was created in April 2014.[9]

The concept of "One Mobile" is that everyone wants a seat at the table, everyone wants to have a voice, so that as you make your plans to go forward that they feel like they've been heard. People recognize that we can't capitalize on every single idea, but if they're part of the process they'll "buy-in." The way to succeed is to get "buy-in" – you set a high vision, high goals, and then you get buy-in and then you work as a team, and when you do that, you get One Mobile.[10]

In the news[edit]

In August 2013, the final month of the mayoral campaign, Stimpson announced that he would contribute $200,000 of his salary over four years to a bonus pool for employees who submit cost-saving or revenue-enhancing ideas implemented by the city. This was criticized by his opponent as a last-ditch effort to sway city employees' voting decision.[7] Stimpson came under criticism for appointing staff that live outside of the City of Mobile. Key staffers who resided across Mobile Bay in Baldwin County include his former Chief of Staff Colby Cooper, City Attorney Ricardo Woods and Communications Director George Talbot.[11]

Two months into his administration, Stimpson announced on December 30, 2013, that he was canceling the employee pay raise promised during the campaign by Sam Jones. The raise was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2014.[12] Between 2014 and 2017, he has given employees several raises,[13] including permanent $5,000 per year raises to police and fire personnel.[14]

On May 30, 2014, Stimpson advocated for the appointment of his former opponent and predecessor Sam Jones to the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System (MAWSS) board. Stimpson's support staved off racial tension building in the community because the Mobile City Council had previously voted along racial lines initially defeating the appointment.[15] In his remarks to the public, he called for a "Community Conversation on Race" which occurred on August 18, 2014.[16]

In May 2015, the mayor's son, Sands Stimpson was arrested for impersonating a police officer. He was later indicted by a grand jury on the charge. He pled guilty to the charge in 2016.[17][18][19]

His Chief of Staff Colby Cooper abruptly resigned in late 2016 after community outrage relating to the removal of an infested cedar tree from a city park that was used as a Christmas tree during the December 2016 visit of then President-Elect Donald J. Trump to Mobile, Alabama.[20]

Stimpson had been accused of running a race-related vote-buying campaign[citation needed], by campaigning in primarily African American neighborhoods offering free soul music concerts and fried chicken[citation needed]. A campaign poster circulated by his campaign was criticized[by whom?] as race-baiting[citation needed]. In 2017, Stimpson was found to be a paying member of the Comic Cowboys Mardi Gras group, an all-white group which routinely uses racict signage on its mardi gras floats[citation needed]. Stimpson later resigned from the group after his membership was publicly revealed.[21][22][23]

In 2017, Stimpson was selected by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative – in its inaugural class of 40 mayors nationwide – seeking to connect prominent city leaders for discussions relating to the best city government practices "because of his leadership, creativity, and commitment to improving the lives of residents".[24]

In December 2018, Stimpson, along with other city officials, were criticized for spending $108,000 on three Christmas trees. City council members expressed frustration because they weren’t informed of this purchase. The city’s special event’s budget states that any purchase costing more than $7,500 constitutes notification of the council. The city purchased three trees from the lowest bidder totaling $108,000. According to city officials, the trees have a 10- to 12-year life span so they are a long term investment.[25]

In December 2018, Stimpson filed a lawsuit against the Mobile City Council alleging violations of the Zoghby Act. The council claimed that since the mayor had spent millions of dollars on PR consultants and staffers, essentially using the city treasury as an extension of his own personal image campaign, that they should have their own PR consultant. The council slashed the mayor's PR budget to a single PR employee (the same number as the previous mayor had) and hired spokesperson Marion Steinfels as their own consultant. The mayor then immediately fired Steinfels in retaliation, which prompted the council to rehire her. After the rehiring, Stimpson filed a lawsuit against the council. After a review, the court sided with the council and denied Stimpson's petition.[citation needed][26][27][28]

Campaign Promises[edit]

Stimpson promised to "Make Mobile the safest city in America by 2020". In 2018, the most recent full year available, homicides were down 46 percent over 2017. Mobile County's District Attorney had said in early 2017 that "Crime is at an all time high with a 25% increase in the number of felony crimes and a 45% increase in homicides."[29] During Stimpson's time as Mayor, there have been two police officers killed in the line of duty. In 2018, Mobile Fire-Rescue Department was awarded the ISO 1 rating. This is ISO's top-tier, which measures "a community's investment in fire mitigation'". [30]Stimpson also promised to work to make Mobile the most business friendly city in America by 2020. In 2017, Mobile ranked number 3 in the country in fDi Magazine's Top American Cities of the Future for FDI Strategy. [31] Stimpson's office has worked to streamline city services, including the planning, zoning, and permitting processes. [32][33][34][35][36]

Personal life[edit]

Stimpson is married to the former Jean Miller of Brewton, Alabama.[37] They have four grown children, nine grandchildren and reside in Mobile, Alabama.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sandy Stimpson elected as Mayor of Mobile", wkrg.com, August 27, 2013
  2. ^ "Mayor continues bold pledge: Mobile will be 'safest city in America by 2020.' Is it doable?". AL.com. August 17, 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  3. ^ Knowles, Alexa (April 3, 2018). "Will Mobile be the safest city in America by 2020?". fox10tv.com. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  4. ^ "2017 crime stats shine light on Mobile's goal to becoming safest city in America". fox10tv.com. January 4, 2018. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  5. ^ "What’s next for mayor-elect Sandy Stimpson?", lagniappe.com, September 4, 2013
  6. ^ "Mayor Stimpson Wins Re-Election"
  7. ^ a b "From Privilege to Servant", AL.com, October 20, 2014
  8. ^ Official Biography, CityofMobile.org
  9. ^ "OneMobile.org"
  10. ^ "Exclusive Sandy Stimpson Interview", modmobilian.com, April 2013
  11. ^ "Stimpson Makes Top Public Safety Appointments - Addresses Staffers Living in Baldwin", lagniappe.com, October 25, 2013
  12. ^ "Stimpson says city severely over budget; cancels raises promised by Jones", Lagniappe.com, December 30, 2013
  13. ^ "Stimpson announces early pay raise for city of Mobile employees"
  14. ^ "$5000 pay raise for Mobile Police Officers proposed in next year's city budget"
  15. ^ "Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson calls on the City Council to appoint former Mayor Sam Jones to water board", AL.com, May 30, 2014
  16. ^ "Hundreds Turnout for Race Forum", wkrg.com, August 18, 2014
  17. ^ [1][dead link]
  18. ^ "Sands Stimpson takes plea deal in impersonation case". AL.com. October 13, 2016. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  19. ^ "Mobile, Alabama mayor Sandy Stimpson's statement on son's arrest for impersonating officer". gulflive.com. May 22, 2015. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  20. ^ "Chief of staff for Mobile mayor resigns 11 days after apologizing over tree for Trump rally". AL.com. December 29, 2016. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  21. ^ Emily Forrester (March 7, 2017). "Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson Was A Paying Member Of The Controversial Comic Cowboys". Wkrg.com. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  22. ^ "Ire grows around racial satire in Mobile Mardi Gras parade". AL.com. March 3, 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  23. ^ Williams, Jasmine. "Mobile Mayor admits involvement with controversial Comic Cowboys". Weartv.com. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  24. ^ "Stimpson Selected for Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative"
  25. ^ Fierro, Nicole. "NBC 15 INVESTIGATES: Six figure price tag for Mobile Christmas trees". Mynbc15.com. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  26. ^ "Mobile City Council Vice President signs contract to rehire spokesperson fired by Mayor". fox10tv.com. December 5, 2018. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  27. ^ Byron Day (December 6, 2018). "Mayor Sandy Stimpson files lawsuit against Mobile City Council". fox10tv.com. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  28. ^ "Could showdown at Mobile City Council cost taxpayers money?". fox10tv.com. November 13, 2018. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  29. ^ https://www.al.com/news/mobile/2017/02/mobile_da_county_commission_se.html
  30. ^ https://www.al.com/news/mobile/2018/11/mobile-fire-rescue-department-achieves-top-rating.html
  31. ^ https://mobilechamber.com/mobile-named-among-american-cities-of-the-future/
  32. ^ https://yellowhammernews.com/terrance-smith-and-i-team-mobile-are-tackling-small-problems-that-make-a-big-difference/
  33. ^ "Mayor continues bold pledge: Mobile will be 'safest city in America by 2020.' Is it doable?". Fox10tv.com. January 2, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  34. ^ "Mobile homicides down 46 percent in 2018". AL.com. February 1, 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  35. ^ Mobile Police Department. "Memorials : Mobile Police Department". Mobilepd.org. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  36. ^ Cullinane, Susannah (January 21, 2019). "Police officer gunned down in Mobile, Alabama". CNN. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  37. ^ "Leader to Leader", Twelve23.org, April 4, 2013

External links[edit]