Chancellor questions Riley's plans
Culverhouse seeks AG's
opinion on education proposal
BIRMINGHAM (AP) — Interim two-year chancellor Renee Culverhouse is asking Attorney General Troy King for an opinion on Gov. Bob Riley's proposals that would keep public education employees from serving as legislators and holding "no work" jobs in the system.
In an April 27 letter, Culverhouse wrote to King saying Riley's plans "appear to contradict the protections afforded to Alabama state employees," The Birmingham News reported Friday. She had not commented publicly on the proposals previously.
Riley asked King for an opinion several days after Culverhouse, arguing that the law allowing state workers to participate in political activities doesn't clearly indicate whether that includes holding an elected office.
He said another law allows state employees to participate in political activities only if they use "approved leave" or "personal time before or after work, or on holidays." Otherwise, he wrote, they risk being found "guilty of the crime of trading public office."
Riley's proposals would prohibit two-year colleges from hiring legislators or their businesses and limit the amount of leave time employees at two-year colleges could use for other jobs.
Culverhouse has held off making a recommendation on the policies to members of the state board of education, saying she wanted to get input from King's office and the state ethics commission.
Commission officials wrote Culverhouse after the school board's meeting last week, saying they had already sent their comments on April 17. Two-year officials said the commission's letter wasn't received until Tuesday, nearly two weeks after it was mailed.
The News last year identified 43 legislators, their close relatives or businesses who received work from the two-year college system from 2002 to 2006.
Culverhouse also questioned if Riley's proposals would need review by the U.S. Justice Department because they involve elected officials. The justice department would determine if the policies comply with the federal Voting Rights Act.
Some state school board members have criticized Riley's proposal as an attack on voters who elected lawmakers working in the system. Riley's proposal allows lawmakers to resign their elected office if they want to continue working in the system.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Save $84.50 a year off our newsstand price:
Subscribe today for only 38 cents a day!