News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, APRIL 15, 2007


Legislators donít belong in college jobs

We wish someone would tell the public one good thing that comes from having legislators work in the two-year college system.

Just one.

Itís a practice that puts politics way ahead of education. Having a legislator on a two-year collegeís payroll is better than the school having a paid lobbyist. A lobbyist canít vote.

The scandal that came to light under former Chancellor Roy Johnson makes it imperative for the practice to end. Imagine a college president declining to hire a member of the Legislature. The threat, even if there is no implied hint of retaliation, is always there.

Gov. Bob Riley last week asked members of the state Board of Education to bar legislators from holding jobs at public schools and two-year colleges. Breaking up the buddy system between board members, their college presidents and legislators will be difficult. The participants like the synergy that the relationships generate, or they are afraid to deny legislatorsí requests for jobs.

The board will meet April 26 on the Calhoun Community College campus. Donít bet on the matter coming up then. But it would be nice if citizens who are fed up with the corruption within the system and who see a conflict when colleges hire legislators would be present to ask the board to adopt the governorís request.

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