BRADENTON, Fla. – The man who helped lead Jefferson County through bankruptcy is exploring a bid to become the governor of Alabama.
David Carrington, who was president of the commission that placed the state's most populous county into Chapter 9, says he is uniquely qualified to deal with statewide problems in Montgomery, the state capital.
"I was the president of the second-largest government in the state as we walked through 'the valley of the shadow of death' into much brighter days," Carrington said. "In order to clean up the messes left by others, I had to make a significant number of difficult decisions regardless of political consequences.
"I truly believe the same can happen in Montgomery with the right leadership team," he said.
Carrington, a Republican who is halfway through his second, four-year term on the county commission, said he will spend the next few months "getting to know" people in other parts of the state before making a final decision whether to run for governor in 2018.
The incumbent governor, Robert Bentley, is term-limited and can't run in 2018.
He plans to complete his term on the county commission, which expires in November 2018.
Carrington said he also plans to complete a "tell all" book about what once was the nation's largest Chapter 9 case, later eclipsed by Detroit.
"I'm about half way through," he said via email Wednesday. "I'm writing it a chapter at a time."
The book deal was announced via Twitter on Jan. 16, 2014, less than a month after the county issued $1.8 billion of sewer system refunding warrants to write down $3.2 billion of outstanding debt.
Jefferson County filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and exited Dec. 3, 2013 after extracting significant concessions from banks and imposing haircuts on sewer warrant holders.
Initially, Carrington planned to debut the book on the first anniversary of the county exiting bankruptcy, but he later said the goal was "too aggressive" for his first book.
The publication delay will provide additional fodder for his book, however, as the county continues to defend its exit plan in an appeal.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta will hear oral arguments Dec. 16, which could end the long-running case.
Despite the hiccup of an appeal, Carrington said, "Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn't tell me that things are much better in Jefferson County than they were on my first day in office" in 2010.
In the last six years, he said the Jefferson County Commission has implemented the county manager form of government; shifted government-provided services to the private business sector to lower operating expenses; and achieved a structurally balanced budget in each of the last six years, despite the loss of more than 25% of the county's general fund revenues.
During those years, the commission also "negotiated a bankruptcy settlement that will save the citizens of Jefferson County billions of dollars in future principal and interest payment and restored the public's trust in their elected county officials," Carrington said.
"Let's be honest, not many citizens gave me and my fellow commissioners a prayer of ever turning around Jefferson County and it was accomplished in less than four years," he said.
Carrington is president of RacingUSA.com, an independently owned online website selling NASCAR-licensed merchandise.
Before becoming a county commissioner, he served six years on the Vestavia Hills City Council.