Lawmaker paid by 2 schools for doing same work
MONTGOMERY (AP) — Alabama House Majority Leader Ken Guin makes nearly $100,000 working as a consultant for two Alabama community colleges, reportedly offering political commentary at times in his filings with the schools.
The Birmingham News reported Sunday that Guin, D-Carbon Hill, often submitted the same work reports to the two schools — Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa and Bevill State Community College in Sumiton.
Guin, a lawyer who was hired by both schools on Nov. 1, 1999, receives $49,677 a year from Shelton State and $48,721 from Bevill State.
In some of his reports Guin, a leader in the state Democratic Party, made strong pitches for party candidates, including then-Gov. Don Siegelman when he was seeking re-election in 2002, the News said.
A report drafted by an investigative panel and sent to Shelton State by former interim chancellor Thomas Corts questioned what Guin does for the college.
"College personnel interviewed by the committee indicate that this person has no office on campus, does not regularly appear at the campus and is of limited service to the college," the report said.
Bevill State President Harold Wade said he is satisfied with the work Guin has done since he started working for the college in 1999.
"If I wasn't, I wouldn't have him," Wade said. "He saved us a lot of money and has gotten us a lot of money, both as an attorney and as a lobbying effort. He brings many more thousands of dollars than what we pay him."
Phone messages left by The Associated Press for Guin on Monday at his law office in Carbon Hill and at his legislative office in Montgomery were not returned.
The News said Shelton State officials provided access to all of Guin's correspondence and personnel files last week, and Wade said Bevill's files would be made available this week.
Some state school board members have questioned why Guin is paid by two colleges.
"We have a legislator drawing about $98,000 a year from two different schools for some pie- in-the-sky consulting job that I have no clue what they really do," board member Randy McKinney of Orange Beach said. "That may not be illegal. But it is morally unconscionable for that individual to be doing that. And as far as I know to this very day, he is tenured in that nonwork contract."
Records show that each school listed Guin on the payroll as a part-time employee serving as its regional coordinator of business and industry. The files show he received tenure in the two-year college system in 2003, the newspaper said.
Shelton State records show that Guin increased his correspondence with college officials after publicity last year about his contracts with the schools. Instead of two- or three-page work reports sent periodically, Guin began sending reports as long as six and seven pages, sometimes twice a month, records show.
After Guin was hired in 1999, he sent identical work reports for more than two years to the presidents at Bevill and Shelton. He began sending the two colleges separate reports in summer 2002, records show.
In some cases, Guin referred to state legislative business in his reports. In a Dec. 7, 1999 report, Guin explained his view of a franchise tax proposal being considered by the Legislature.
In some reports, he provided updates on state budget issues or contacts he had made with state agencies.
In some cases, it's not clear in the reports when Guin was referring to his work as a legislator or a college employee.
In April 2000, Guin sent Siegelman a request on his legislative letterhead, asking for $250,000 for Shelton State projects, records show. Guin mentioned the request in a memo to Shelton State in September 2000, noting his work on behalf of the college and his efforts to encourage other legislators to support the request.
Guin made some partisan pitches in some of his work reports. In a May 2002 report, Guin noted that he earlier had visited then-U.S. Rep. Bob Riley, during a Washington trip a few months before the Republican Riley's campaign against Siegelman, a Democrat.
Guin said Riley's view "of public education in Alabama is certainly not shared with those closely connected" with public schools. "I was very disappointed with his lack of knowledge and I believe he will not be as helpful to postsecondary as a continued Siegelman administration would be," he wrote.
Information from: The Birmingham News
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