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Lawmakers, AEA try to reverse double-dipping ban

By Bob Johnson
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY — Alabama House Majority Leader Ken Guin, whose part-time community college jobs have been cited by critics as an example of "double dipping" by legislators, said Friday the state school board "overstepped its bounds" when it banned two-year college employees from serving in the Legislature.

Guin's comments were made the same day the Alabama Education Association filed suit against two-year Chancellor Bradley Byrne and the state Board of Education challenging the ban, a widely expected move.

The lawsuit was filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court on behalf of several legislators and voters opposing the policies adopted Thursday.

Guin, D-Carbon Hill, said he believes lawmakers will consider legislation to strike down the new policy adopted Thursday at the behest of Republican Gov. Bob Riley and Byrne, a former GOP senator.

"I don't think that any person from any walk of life should be precluded from running for the Legislature, particularly in education. Education is the largest function of state government," Guin said.

Guin said the new policy will allow him to continue his $48,721-a-year part-time job for Bevill State Community College in Sumiton until 2010. If the policy stands, Guin said, he hasn't decided if he would give up the Bevill State position or not run for re-election to his House seat in 2010.

As chairman of the Democratic Caucus and chair of the Rules Committee, Guin is one of the top leaders in the House.

Guin, who is also a lawyer in Carbon Hill, said he has not studied the new policy but knows it would prevent him and other lawmakers who work for two-year colleges from running for re-election in 2010.

"I don't agree with that," Guin said. "I think the Constitution sets forth the qualifications for running for office and the state school board has overstepped its bounds."

Along with his work for Bevill State, Guin held a similar position for $49,677 a year with Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, but he gave up that job earlier this year. A report in The Birmingham News said he often submitted the same work reports to both schools, changing only the address and the president's name on the documents.

School board member Randy McKinney, a Republican from Gulf Shores, pointed out Guin's situation during the board's meeting Thursday, saying he was surprised to learn the representative at one time held positions at Bevill State and Shelton State.

"I cannot figure out for the life of me how an individual can handle all three of these jobs in addition to a full-time law practice," McKinney said. "So double dipper became a new meaning with Ken Guin. It was either triple dipper or multi-dipper, I don't know. It is wrong, though."

But Guin defended legislators who work for two-year colleges, saying some have had their jobs in the system for years.

"I think the board basically has reacted to something that has become a political issue more than a political problem," Guin said.

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

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