Jarvis Patton

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This article is about the Mayor's Chief of Operations. For his son, the physician, see Jarvis Patton, Jr.

Jarvis Emmitt Patton (born c. 1949 in Birmingham) is the chief of operations for Birmingham mayor William Bell. He previously served as administrator for the Birmingham City Council and as a consultant for government-industry relations.

Patton is the son of W. C. Patton, a voting rights advocate who headed the Alabama chapter of the NAACP and later founded the Alabama State Coordinating Association for Registration and Voting. The elder Patton traveled every corner of the state registering new voters, but insisted on returning home for dinner each night with his family of six. Jarvis Patton worked alongside his father, and served as president of the Birmingham youth chapter of the NAACP. He later served as an official for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He ran unsuccessfully for Birmingham City Council in the 1980s, but has not sought election to public office since then.

Bell asked Patton to join his staff at the beginning of his second term as president of the City Council in 1989. He remained in that position for thirteen years. When Bell lost his council seat to Elias Hendricks, Patton left city hall and served as interim executive director of the South Regions Minority Business Council while also establishing himself as a political consultant. In 2006 Patton was hired to provide mediation services to students at P. D. Jackson-Olin High School who were frequently fighting after merging with the former Ensley High School.

Patton returned to City Hall as Chief of Operations when Bell was elected Mayor in 2010, joining a staff headed by Chuck Faush. Faush served as the administration's spokesperson and lead negotiator on external contracts while Patton took the reigns of the executive department's internal organization and relations with the City Council. In that role, Patton frequently came into conflict with Council members and gained a reputation as uncompromising.

He was also criticized for his role in the firing of accountant Virginia Spidle shortly after his return to City Hall. She claimed her dismissal was part of a pattern of discrimination against white city employees, and won reinstatement and lost wages from the Jefferson County Personnel Board. When she was fired again, she filed a federal lawsuit. Eventually the city settled the case by reinstating her and paying her $160,000 for her legal expenses.

When Faush resigned in 2015 to take an executive job with Summit Media, Patton was asked to expand his responsibilities.


  • Bryant, Joseph D. (February 2, 2010) "Birmingham mayor appoints Patton; says Hartsell will remain on staff." The Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (May 28, 2014) "Case closed: City of Birmingham settles federal discrimination lawsuit with longtime city accountant." The Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (April 12, 2015) "Birmingham mayor's right-hand man a decades-long compatriot." The Birmingham News