As someone who first saw his name on a newspaper article more than 50 years ago I still appreciate when an industrious reporter, backed wholeheartedly by their employer, keeps digging and digging., It’s something that doesn’t happen that much these days because everyone is into instant gratification, not in-depth news.
(I can think of no better example than the fascination Donald Trump apparently has with Twitter.)
Reporter Meagan Hurley of the Opelika-Auburn News has been digging relentlessly for several months after news surfaced that the community college system planned to merge schools headquartered in Alexander City, Opelika and Phenix City. This was unwelcome news for many folks, especially supporters of Southern Union College.
So Meagan started asking questions, looking at financial info and making requests for documentation through the Freedom of Information Act. This is the latest in her series.
Titled Two-year college system chief of staff paid more than $500k since 2014, here is some of what she reported.
“The man who now serves as the Alabama Community College System board of trustees’ chief of staff has been paid more than half a million dollars for his services since 2014, records show.
Jimmy Baker, a former lobbyist for the state’s two-year college system who was named its chief of staff this year, was compensated approximately $384,000 by Calhoun and Enterprise community colleges in 2014 and 2015, according to contracts he held with the schools for professional and governmental consulting services.
Baker has been paid $121,875 by the system office since Jan. 27 as the board’s chief of staff.
His consulting contracts compensation and his current salary combined total $505,875.”
She goes into detail about various contracts this system has for governmental affairs services.
Obviously there are some folks who do not appreciate this kind of journalistic diligence. But the public is well-served when we have it.