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Medicaid lobbyist resigns following salary report

MONTGOMERY (AP) — A retired state employee hired as a lobbyist for the Alabama Medicaid Agency under a circuitous contract agreement has resigned following a report on her contract by The Huntsville Times.

Sherri G. Fulford resigned this week in a letter to Medicaid Commissioner Carol A. Herrmann-Steckel.

“My recent experiences de-monstrate a need for the process to be clearly defined and universally applied,” Fulford said. “Hopefully, this issue can be resolved successfully and quickly.”

The Huntsville newspaper, in a Feb. 25 story, revealed that Fulford’s contract called for her to earn up to $57,720 a year for the equivalent of six months’ work while she collected her $59,000 annual state pension.

If Fulford went to work for the Medicaid agency as a regular state employee, her annual salary would be limited to only $20,000, according to Retirement Systems of Alabama.

She was hired under a contract that started with the state Finance Department and went through Auburn University Montgomery to a Montgomery company before going back to the state. AUM and the company were paid fees for their roles, according to The Times.

In a separate letter to Rep. Neal Morrison, D-Cullman, chairman of the Legislature’s Contract Review Oversight Committee, Fulford said she resigned “because of the continued confusion surrounding this situation.”

“I had understood that the process used for my contract was acceptable, especially since this practice has been routine for so many years,” she said.

Contacted by The Times, Fulford declined to elaborate.

Morrison said his criticism of the contract had nothing to do with Fulford.

“No one ever questioned Ms. Fulford’s abilities or skills,” he said. “She is a very capable person.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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