JeffCo looks to improve image, end bankruptcy with new county attorney

Jefferson County hopes an Alabama Supreme Court Justice can help restore order and integrity. Thursday, the commission hired Associate Justice Mike Bolin.

Bolin will{}replace county attorney Jeff Sewell whose involuntary retirement began Thursday.

State and federal judges topped the list of candidates for the position. But commissioners say Bolin stood out because of his reputation, knowledge and character. He also wanted the job.

Bolin says he's ready to put the county's chapter of corruption to an end.

In 2005, Bolin went from Jefferson County probate judge to associate justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Thursday, he accepted the Jefferson County Commission's offer to return home for the final years of his career to serve as county attorney.

"Jefferson County is my home. It has been for 64 years. It will be for the rest of my life. If{}I can contribute to it being a better place before things got off track,{}I welcome the challenge," said Bolin.

The challenge includes bringing the county out of bankruptcy and the federal hiring order.

"Somebody has got to get in there and do it, and{}I think{}I can," he said.

Some commissioners believe he can also help the county's image.

"I{}think we realized the number of county employees and commissioners that have been convicted of crimes, pled guilty of crimes- who better then a former judge to come in and watch over everything we are doing," said Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington.

But Commissioners Sandra Little Brown and George Bowman voted against the hire because of its speed. Bowman says 24 hours after Bolin's interest was expressed, he was identified as the candidate.

Even{}Bolin didn't have much time to contact all his supporters.

"I{}called as many friends and supporters as{}I could because one of the most important considerations in my mind was not to disappoint anyone who put their faith in me and entrusted me with a term in office," he said.

Bolin says not everyone may agree with the decision. But those who he spoke with are still backing him. He wants to tackle the big legal issues quickly, so economic development and jobs can once again become the county's focus.

Bolin will be paid 224 thousand dollars and will start within 30 days.

The governor will appoint someone to serve the remainder of Bolin's term on the Alabama Supreme Court.