Something’s rotten in two-year system

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY — It was William Shakespeare who penned the familiar line about there being something rotten in Denmark. If he were around today he might re-write that to say there is something rotten in Alabama's two-year colleges. A day seldom passes when there is a not another revelation of nepotism, waste, and wholesale misspending of taxpayers money.
Now comes the absolutely disgusting report that an employee of Bishop State Community College arranged for grants and scholarships for her mother, grandmother and husband although none of them ever attended any classes.
The grandmother — disabled and 67-years-old — was enrolled in the varsity basketball, baseball and softball programs. Not a great deal of your tax money was thrown away in this shameful affair (a total of $6,600) but the gall of it is offensive.
Actually there were several other instances where family members of Bishop State officials received payment for classes they never attended.
The president of Bishop State is very high profile: State Rep. Yvonne Kennedy, D-Mobile. She is now in her 24th year in the Legislature and is past chairperson of the Black Legislative Caucus. She said she began looking into these allegations in May but then had to take emergency medical leave to undergo open heart surgery.
While most of the attention was focused on the disgusting events at Bishop State, still more attention was focused on Roy Johnson, who recently was fired as chancellor of the two-year colleges.
The Birmingham News reported Johnson once received a $125,000 loan from an old friend and associate, Jimmie Clements. Nothing wrong with that, but the story went further. Johnson had paid Clements more than $262,000 to do consultant work for the two-year colleges; and later, when Clements went to work for a lobbying firm, that business received contracts of more than $650,000 to lobby for the two-year schools.
Like I said at the outset, Denmark was never more rotten than the two-year college system in Alabama appears to be. Dr. Tom Corts, the retired Samford University president who has been named to clean up this mess, has his hands full.
But with a catchy slogan –“Steve Means Business” — the young trumpet player won the race. He won two more terms after that, then after losing a bid for fourth term in 1986 he came back in 1990 and regained the seat and held it for four more terms. Last week Means, the longest-serving mayor of any major city in Alabama, lost a bid for an eighth term as mayor. He says he will not run again.
And before you ask, he is the brother of State Sen. Larry Means of Attalla, who was mayor of that city before being elected to the Legislature.
To date, Critter Control has captured 48 of the hogs, some of them weighing in excess of 100 pounds. They have been dispatched to Hog Heaven.
With tongue in cheek I cannot help but wonder if the company might be hired to trap some critters who have been rooting around in the House and Senate chambers for years. Some of them have spent so much time at the trough they could be mistaken for hogs.

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