Monday, April 23, 2012

A Curious Firing Adds to the Mounting Intrigue at Retirement Systems of Alabama

David Bronner

Since the Republican takeover of the Alabama Legislature in the 2010 elections, we've seen signs that GOPers are trying to get their grimy hands on the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) and the some $32 billion that it manages.

First, came introduction of two GOP-backed bills that would have given politicians more control over RSA. Then came news that Leura Canary, former U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama under George W. Bush, was going to be forced onto the staff of RSA chief executive David Bronner. Now we have word of a curious firing that signals more upheaval at RSA.

Marc Reynolds, deputy director of RSA and Bronner's right-hand man, has been fired, according to a report in the Montgomery Independent. Writes Bob Martin:

The Independent learned Tuesday that Marcus H. Reynolds, Jr. the Deputy Director of the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) has been fired.
I began hearing rumors to that effect late last week. I called RSA on Tuesday of this week and asked to speak to Mr. Reynolds but was advised he no longer worked there.
My next question was, “Did he retire?” The answer was “No.” Then I asked “What happened?” I was advised by the spokesperson at RSA that he did not leave on his on accord, but his employment, in effect, had been terminated.
I then asked to speak with RSA Director Dr. David Bronner, but was told he was in a meeting and would return my call. I did not receive a call from Dr. Bronner by this week’s printing deadline.
I tried to reach Mr. Reynolds on his cell and home telephone numbers Tuesday but could not reach him. We will continue to attempt to reach Mr. Reynolds in order to give him an opportunity to comment.

It certainly is possible that Reynolds did something to merit the termination. But we would say it's much more likely that this is a political hit, designed to rid RSA of an executive who opposes Republican intervention. Bob Martin seems to smell something foul behind Reynolds' ouster:

Mr. Reynolds’ departure comes less than three months after Dr. Bronner hired Leura Canary, who was recently replaced as the U. S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama. Ms. Canary’s annual salary is currently set at $200,803.20.
To this writer and to others with whom I have spoken, this firing scenario really appears weird. Mr. Reynolds seemed to many to have been Dr. Bronner’s alter ego and the one who was destined to later become head of the agency.
It is also strange to this writer because Mr. Reynolds has been a part of the Bronner team which, since the mid-1970’s, has transformed RSA into a financial giant, that not only has made wise investments for the most part but also made significant infrastructure improvements for Alabama.


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Robby Scott Hill said...

Economics factors in also. They can't afford to pay everyone a six figure salary. Even RSA has a budget they must live within. If you're a professional with connections, you'll flow to an area where the bullshit isn't so deep. I call it - jobmosis: moving to another firm with less bullshit.