This stinks badly of people who have been in power too long and don’t like to be thwarted.
A year after firefighters stopped two-year college officials from taking over the Alabama Fire College, state lawmakers have taken most of the funding from the firefighter training school and given it to a community college program that doesn’t exist.
The state education budget, passed this week by lawmakers and now awaiting Gov. Bob Riley’s approval, strips away nearly three-fourths of the $8.1 million set aside for the firefighter school in Tuscaloosa and gives it to the Alabama Fire and Emergency Services Academy, a program that is supposed to be run by Shelton State Community College.
But the academy doesn’t exist, Shelton State spokeswoman Leigh Hays said Wednesday.
Firefighters whose disclosures helped launch an investigation into corruption at the Fire College, which has now expanded to the two-year system, think this is payback by community college presidents and lawmakers who aren’t happy that they’re about to get kicked off the gravy train. They’ve been unable to find out who is behind the shift in funds; Sen. Hank Sanders (D-Selma) inserted the change, but in a scenario similar to the US Attorney firings, no one wants to admit who requested it.
And giving the money to Shelton State just seems stupid beyond belief, given the corruption and mismanagement that’s run rampant there.
The situation at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa has in some ways been even worse. Along with allegations of nepotism, cronyism and other questionable management practices, President Rick Rogers has been accused of personally benefiting from some of the less-than-upright deals at Shelton State and the Alabama Fire College, which is located on the campus. Rogers has been on paid leave since last year, after accusations that Fire College money had been used to buy furniture and pay cell phone bills for him.
IIRC, Gov. Riley has a version of the line-item veto that would allow him to remove this portion of the budget. Sounds like a plan to me. Stupid payback politics is wrong, no matter which party perpetrates it.