Dr. Howard Rubenstein
On May 22, Dr. Howard Rubenstein, Mayor of Saraland, was elected by his municipal colleagues to serve as President of the Alabama League of Municipalities for 2017-2018. He was elected and took office during the League’s annual convention, which was held in Birmingham May 20-23.
“Howard has been actively involved with the League for many years,” said League Executive Director Ken Smith. “He has served on numerous League committees, including our Executive Committee, and I have worked closely with him for two decades. His municipal knowledge and leadership skills have been an asset to our organization. Howard will serve us well as President.”
During his acceptance speech, Mayor Rubenstein thanked his fellow elected officials for the honor to serve as president and emphasized the importance of advocacy on behalf of local government: “This has been a daunting year for state legislative actions that have the potential to greatly harm our municipalities. Unfortunately, Alabama’s cities and towns will continue to face significant challenges throughout the upcoming year. That being said, the League is one of our greatest resources for sharing our stories with our state elected officials and to advocate for our cities and towns – and ultimately for our citizens. State officials need to understand that their actions eroding our authority to govern – or that remove our revenue sources – will have devastating effects on our citizens. For instance, declining state support for mental health has had horrific results for many people and has shifted the burden of caring for these individuals to all our municipalities. Unfunded mandates result in the curtailing of essential programs and services for our residents.”
Dr. Rubenstein also serves on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Municipal Funding Corporation (AMFund), an entity created by the League in 2006 to assist Alabama’s municipalities with refinancing existing debt and funding local projects and purchases through cost-effective financing. He began his municipal service in 1996 as a Councilmember. Following a 2004 change in the form of government, he was chosen as Saraland’s first Council President and then reelected to that position in 2008. He has served as the City’s liaison to the Saraland Board of Education since its inception. In January 2011, during his fourth term on the Council, Dr. Rubenstein transitioned into the position of Mayor.
He has completed the League’s Basic, Advanced and Emeritus Certified Municipal Official (CMO) programs. CMO Emeritus is awarded to officials who have acquired a minimum of 120 credit hours of Continuing CMO Education through a series of one-day programs designed especially for mayors and councilmembers who voluntarily wish to receive formal training in municipal government. Emeritus status also requires earning a total of 15 points, which can be achieved by participating on ALM policy committees and attending specific ALM and National League of Cities (NLC) events. Through these programs, Dr. Rubenstein has received formal classroom training in subjects such as council meeting procedures; parliamentary procedure; the Open Meetings Law; public records; ordinance drafting; conflicts of interest; the State Ethics Law; duties of the mayor and council; tort liability; the competitive bid law; zoning and planning; annexation; municipal regulatory powers; municipal revenues and expenditures; personnel actions; and leadership development.