By Erica Thomas, Managing Editor

The new Jefferson County Manager at the Eastern Area Mayors meeting in Trussville this month and updated the group on his future plans for the county.

Cal Markert has worked in Jefferson County for five years. He became the county manager on Oct. 1, after former manager Tony Petelos retired. Prior to coming to Jefferson County, Markert was the Baldwin County Manager.

“I’ve learned local government is the best government,” Markert said. “Because you can’t hide mistakes, you can’t hide potholes.”

At the end of 2020, Jefferson County adopted a five-year strategic plan. Although he wasn't the city manager at the time, Markert said he had input on the plan. Markert presented the plan to the eastern mayors on Tuesday. The plan is broken down into four goals:

Each goal has specific and measurable objectives. Some of those objectives include gaining feedback from customer service surveys, improving online transactions, reducing the number of youths that re-enter the Youth Detention Center, paving more roads, providing workforce training, and building economic stability that includes transparent and public financial reports.

“After coming from what we’ve come from, with the last few years, we decided, with the economy and the bankruptcy, we feel like it’s kind of time to rebuild Jefferson County,” Markert said.

As part of the plan, the Commission’s mission is stated as, “Providing exceptional, everyday service through character and competence.”

The vision is, “To be a model local government that anticipates and meets the evolving needs of a diverse community with energy, character, dedication, and accountability.”

The Commission’s core values are listed as: Transparency, inclusion, integrity, innovation, energetic service, and safety.

The commission has created a public website for accountability purposes. Markert said anyone can go to to see where the commission is on their plans. The website keeps a tab of types of projects and jobs needing to be completed in the county, such as road paving and CARES Act Fund expenditures. It shows the goal the county set, the projects completed and last year’s numbers on each category.

Markert said a priority for the county is to improve traffic flow in certain areas. He said there are places all around the county that have much-needed projects. He told the mayors that the state started the Alabama Infrastructure Bank, as part of the most recent gas tax bill. He said cities and counties can submit projects to that program to apply to use some of those funds on larger projects.

Another area of improvement, Markert said, is finding skilled laborers. He said the county is no different in finding workers. He said this summer, the county was down more than 40 skilled laborers.

“Good people is really who we are and we just need to get good people in here quick,” Markert added.

Applications for most jobs in Jefferson County Commission are accepted through The Personnel Board of Jefferson County’s online job link .  

“We’ve gotten out of a bankruptcy and now we’re really focusing on ourselves and how we can improve,” Markert added. “I really am thankful, we have some really, really good commissioners here in this area.”