Historical Overview - Commission Form of Government (1931-1988)

Commission form of Government (1931-1988)

On May 29, 1931, the Legislature of Alabama adopted Act No. 239, later amended, which abolished the form of county government commonly known earlier as the Board of Revenue of Baldwin County and established in lieu of a "Commission form of government." Importantly, it was at this time that Baldwin County's government became known as the "Baldwin County Commission."

In the early days of the Baldwin County Commission, their powers, duties & functions mirrored those powers they exercised while they were referred to as a Board of Revenue with some "political" and "organizational" alterations.

Politically, Act No. 239, 1931 Regular Session of the Legislature of Alabama, as amended, required the four commissioners to be elected by a vote of the entire county (at-large elections) to represent four geographically drawn districts. While each commissioner ran an election countywide, they were each required to be a resident of the district they wished to represent. Notably, Commissioners now exercised a four year term of office instead of the one year terms as members of the Board of Revenue. Additionally, Baldwin County's first county commissioners were appointed by Act No. 239, 1931 Regular Session of the Legislature of Alabama, as amended, with the District 1 Commissioner & District 3 Commissioner running for election in November, 1932, and every forth year thereafter, and the District 2 Commissioner & District 4 Commissioner running for election in November, 1934, and every forth year thereafter (i.e. County Commissioners elected at staggered intervals).

Organizationally, Act No. 239, 1931 Regular Session of the Legislature of Alabama, as amended, required that the first Commission meeting in January of each year be utilized as an "organizational meeting" (since 1931, as required by Local Law, the Baldwin County Commission has held such an organizational meeting until they were required by all Alabama County Commissions by General Law after any new County Commissioner or County Commission is elected). At the organizational meeting commissioners designated or elected, from among themselves, a respective commissioner to exercise the following duties:

1. Chairman & Purchasing Division Commissioner authorized, among other things, to:
 - Preside over meetings; and
 - Sign warrants; and
 - Act as purchasing agent.

2. Road & Bridge Commissioner authorized, authorized among other things, to:
 - Recommend to the Commission the location, construction, maintenance & repair of all roads & bridges in the county; and
 - Render assistance to State Highway Department with work in the county.

3. Finance & Taxation Commissioner authorized, among other things, to:
 - Keep Commission informed as to the financial condition of the county; and
 - Gather information necessary for the proper valuation of property in the county.

 4. Civic & Industrial Commissioner authorized, among other things, to:
 - Survey the natural resources in the county to ensure they are fully developed & utilized; and
 - Act as a liaison with all communities, municipalities & State agencies.

 The Commission form of government in Baldwin County, as set forth in Act No. 239, 1931 Regular Session of the Legislature of Alabama, as amended, remained fully operable, with minor alterations from time to time, until June 6, 1988, when a Federal Court rearranged the composition of Baldwin County's governing body.  Presently, and since September, 2002, pursuant to the Judgments and Orders of the Federal Court, the Commission form of government, as established pursuant to Act No. 239, 1931 Regular Session of the Legislature of Alabama, will, again, become fully operable commencing on November 9, 2004.

It is important to note that a great number of provisions in Act No. 239, 1931 Regular Session of the Legislature of Alabama, as amended, are still in effect today with the most significant exclusion remaining the provision setting the number of county commissioners and their method of election.

Importantly, as during the period under the "Administrative Court" (1821-1931), please keep in mind that while the Baldwin County's government operated under Act No. 239, 1931 Regular Session of the Legislature of Alabama, as amended, they additionally came under the legislative oversight of the applicable provisions set forth in Code of Alabama 1940, as amended by subsequent Acts; Code of Alabama 1958 recompiled and later amended by subsequent Acts & the Code of Alabama 1975, as amended by subsequent Acts.