Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB) chairman Chris Rice withdrew his resignation Wednesday, less than a week after submitting his letter of resignation to the mayor.

Rice officially submitted his resignation Thursday morning. Now, reports say Rice claimed his resignation was made under duress.

Rice was appointed by Woodfin in 2021 and elected chair in January 2022. His resignation is the latest of a series of controversies surrounding the BWWB this year. 

Media reports said thousands of customers didn't receive bills for months, only to receive much larger or multiple bills all at once.

The bills were also not based on accurate meter readings but estimations based on previous months. Birmingham Water Works blamed a lack of meter readers and insufficient staffing for the issue.

The issues have drawn the attention of public figures on both sides of the aisle, including Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, a Democrat, and State Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills).

Vice chairman William "Butch" Burbage, Jr. read a letter from Rice's attorney, Bruce L. Gordon, at the BWWB meeting Wednesday morning. 

The letter stated that shortly after submitting his resignation, Rice sent another letter to Woodfin's office rescinding the resignation. Gordon argued that since Rice had not submitted an official letter of resignation to the BWWB, he would remain chairman.

Burbage said the BWWB couldn't act on the letter because it is outside the board's jurisdiction, but no replacement for Rice has been named.

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