That's thanks to a 2000 amendment to the city's council-manager act, which directs how Anniston's government runs.
Former Mayor Gene Stedham wrote the amendment and got it through the Legislature in 2000, he said, because he felt the mayor should take on more responsibilities and become the city's chief executive officer — a full-time position.
Stedham in 2000 never sought or received council approval for the amendment.
But just months after Stedham's amendment passed in the Legislature, he lost his re-election bid to Chip Howell, who served for the next eight years. Stedham served only a few months under the new mayor's roles.
Efforts to reach Howell for this story failed, but current councilmen say he never expanded the mayor's role. In his two terms, Howell was a ceremonial mayor, as is traditional in the council-manager form of government.
Howell presided over meetings and represented the city at functions, but left city management to the city manager.
Under Stedham's amendment, the mayor would take on many jobs traditionally associated with the city manager, like long-range planning, while the city manager would concentrate on the day-to-day operations of government, the former mayor said.
In 2000, some said the amendment could prove dangerous. The mayor already serves as a voting council member. If he then takes on powers as the city's chief executive officer, people feared the mayor could then control both the city's administration and the council — the entire city government.
Stedham said Wednesday he disagrees with the amendment's critics.
"I was trying to give us the best of both worlds," Stedham said. "It didn't hurt anything because there never has been a checks-and-balance system in this form of government."
Experts on government administration say the council-manager form does have checks and balances. The city manager, who isn't elected, serves as the city's administrator. The council serves as the city's legislative arm, directing the city manager.
The City Council on Tuesday agreed to ask the state attorney general to give his opinion on how much power the mayor holds. Councilman Ben Little said the amendment runs counter to the council-manager form of government.
Little said he lobbied against the bill in 2000, just before he won his spot on the council, but was unsuccessful. He said since Howell did not exercise the rights the amendment gave him, it wasn't an issue.
Now, Robinson says, depending on whether the attorney general says the amendment is legal, he would take on the duties.
"I feel like the mayor should be a lot more than it has been," he said Tuesday. "If I'm just ceremonial, I'm way, way, way overpaid."
Anniston's mayor makes $65,000 yearly.
Under Stedham's change, Robinson could be responsible for:
• Developing the basic objectives and policies of the city in conjunction with the council.
• Developing plans for long-range growth and development and presenting the plans annually to the council and public.
• Taking the necessary steps, with advice and approval of the council, to protect and enhance the city's fiscal situation.
The mayor also could pardon people convicted of misdemeanor crimes and return their fines.
Perry Roquemore, executive director of the state League of Municipalities, said he did not think the added mayoral responsibilities are common in a council-manager form of government.
"But there are variations across the board," he said, because most cities have their own governing act.