Senator Dial Committee Meets July 25

As we recently reported, the legislative committee that looked at the “smear sheet” incident that occurred last year in the state superintendent search will re-convene on July 25 at 1 p.m. in the Statehouse.  Senator Gerald Dial, who along with Senator Quinton Ross, asked that this committee be formed to conduct the investigation, thought their work was done after several meetings last fall.

However, a recent report by the Alabama department of education concluded there was a coordinated effort by the former interim state superintendent, department general counsel, two staff attorneys and a board member to discredit Jefferson County superintendent Craig Pouncey in his effort to become state superintendent.

In light of this, Senator Dial opted to re-open the  He sent letters to the following requesting they appear on July 25: Tom Albritton, Ethics Commission Director; David Pope, ALSDE IT Director; Dee Fowler, ALSDE Chief of Staff; James Ward, ALSDE attorney; Juliana Dean, ALSDE general counsel; Michael Meyer, ALSDE attorney; former Governor Robert Bentley; Matt Brown, former state board member; Betty Peters, state board member; Stephanie Bell, state board member; Cynthia McCarty, state board member; Mary Scott Hunter, state board member; and Hugh Evans, Ethics Commission attorney.

Pouncey has pending legal action before circuit Judge Roman Shaul of Montgomery naming Dean, Ward and Hunter as three of five defendants.  It is questionable as to whether their attorneys will allow them to appear before the Dial Committee.

All but Fowler, Meyer and Bentley have appeared before the committee previously.

Two issues that may be probed include an effort by Dean to have Myer terminated after Mike Sentance assigned him the task of the internal investigation and Pope’s recollection of a telephone conversation he sat in on between Hunter, interim superintendent Phillip Cleveland and Dean..

It has now been just over 12 months since this incident came to light.  And amazingly, we still have not gotten to the bottom of  it all.

July 25 is also the date for the next state school board meeting.  A work session is scheduled for 10 a.m. and a board meeting for 11:30.

So once again the media will be telling the world about Alabama education.  Unfortunately, they will again concentrate on the shenanigans of grownups–not the accomplishments of young people.

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