Culverhouse contract a slap at Riley’s power

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Capitol Scene
MONTGOMERY — As a child in elementary school I remember on occasions that some entertainer would come by for a program featuring trained dogs. I loved those shows: dogs doing back flips, jumping rope, and best of all, jumping through hoops.
My friend Dr. Paul Hubbert of the Alabama Education Association (AEA) must have trained at one of those jumping-through-hoops schools because for years he has been a master at getting legislators to jump through hoops.
Last week Dr. Hubbert showed that not only had he trained legislators to do his beck and call, but members of the State Board of Education as well.
In an astonishing vote at a board meeting in Decatur, the members, by a 5-4 margin, voted to give Dr. Renee Culverhouse a contract to serve as interim chancellor of the two-year college system. This is the same Dr. Culverhouse who, during her tenure as Gadsden State president, hired more legislators and kin and friends of legislators than any other president in the state.
The vote was a slap in the face of Gov. Bob Riley, who is seeking legislation to ban double-dipping by legislators.
But why a majority of the board voted as they did — in defiance of all logic — you need look no further than the office of Dr. Hubbert on Dexter Avenue. When he says jump, the only thing legislators (and School Board members ) ask is “how high?”
Understand, they are not doing it with their pay raise; they are putting that in their pockets and decorating their offices at your expense.
It seemed only right that the first of the lawmakers to get into the interior decorating business was Rep. Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham, who sponsored the pay raise. Newton is speaker pro tem of the House and among his perks is a state car and full-time driver. To say he is living high on the hog is an understatement.
Records show Newton spent $2,165 for artwork, $759 for three mirrors and $495 for a settee, among other things.
Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, insists that provision should not be in the resolution, and the Senate has approved his proposal. Meanwhile in the House a similar resolution which includes the “no reparation lawsuit” language has passed.
When the Senate resolution reached the House, it was sent to a committee; when the House resolution reached the Senate it followed the same route.
It will take a conference committee to work out the differences.
Bottom line: The apology resolution still has a hurdle or two to climb before being approved. And behind the scenes there is at least some talk of the Legislature passing the buck and submitting the apology resolution to a vote of the people.
The poll showed Clinton leading with 33 percent, and Obama not far back with 25 percent.
The other contenders got only negligible support.

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