I suspect most folks have a pretty clearcut definition of a hiring freeze, and it goes something like this: During lean economic times, you stop hiring new people.
That seems simple enough. But Alabama Governor Bob Riley apparently has a different definition of hiring freeze. His goes something like this: During lean economic times, you stop hiring people--unless one of your cronies wants or needs a job really bad; then, it's perfectly fine to hire new people.
The latest example of Riley's strange "hiring freeze" comes with news that the governor has hired former State Finance Director Drayton Nabers to oversee the handling of federal stimulus funds. Nabers also is former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, a position to which he was appointed by Riley.
Never mind the irony of Riley preparing for stimulus funds while his fellow Republicans, including Alabama U.S. Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, fight the stimulus package in Washington. This is the third time Riley has hired former administrative chiefs since he imposed a state hiring freeze.
In addition to Nabers, Riley has retained Kathy Sawyer, a former state mental health commissioner, to oversee future plans for Bryce Hospital in Tuscaloosa under a contract paying more than $150,000. And he brought back Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh to assist the finance director in an $80,000-a-year job.
Riley's explanation for violating his own hiring freeze? He says that when he announced the freeze, he indicated there would be exceptions for critical state jobs. Hiring Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh to assist the state finance director is critical? Hiring Drayton Nabers to oversee the handling of federal funds the state doesn't even have--and might not get, if Shelby and Sessions have their way--is critical?
Nabers already was on the Riley gravy train. His firm--Maynard Cooper & Gale--has a contract with the Riley administration to represent the state in a federal lawsuit involving property taxes. The one-year contract provides for $190 per hour, with a maximum payment of $400,000. What do you want to bet the final amount billed is awfully close to $400,000?
For good measure, Nabers happens to be one of the most hypocritical, corrupt phonies to pass through Alabama government in recent years--and that's saying something. When Nabers oversaw our state courts, they were a judicial cesspool. Nabers did nothing about it, even though he had plenty of evidence that corruption was taking place on his watch.
Of course, Nabers was part of the corruption, and I saw that with my own peepers. When I filed an appeal during the bogus lawsuit filed against me by my troublesome neighbor, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals unlawfully granted a no-opinion affirmance. This contradicted numerous Alabama laws, meaning Nabers and the Supreme Court had to grant certiorari in order to review the case and get it right.
That's what state law says, and anyone who cares to review the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure can see that. But Nabers & Co. denied certiorari, allowing an unlawful ruling to stand.
My research indicates I am just one of many Alabamians to experience this kind of corruption from our appellate courts.
Nabers, though, had the audacity to write a book about character. Maybe he has the same big brass ones that Bob Riley uses so frequently.
Hypocrisy, thy name is Drayton Nabers. And now the man is back, sucking at the teet of state government in Alabama.