The never-ending saga of State Auditor Jim Zeigler and embattled Gov. Robert Bentley will continue this weekend.
Zeigler, like Bentley a Republican, has been a vociferous critic of the governor and his policies on spending, state parks, and even the removal of portraits of Bentley’s predecessors — Govs. George Wallace and Lurleen Wallace — from the Capitol rotunda in Montgomery.
On Saturday, he will address both at grand re-opening of Rickwood Caverns State Park in Warrior, Alabama
Zeigler says he will deliver an address on the “State of Our Parks” at the event on Saturday, as well as an update to his “Auditor’s Examination” of the governor he gave earlier this month. Zeigler sharply criticized Bentley in recent remarks, saying he should be ousted from his post, sooner rather than later.
“The people of Alabama want and need a solution to the serious problems in the governor’s office soon, not in 2017,” said Zeigler. “To allow the dysfunction… to linger until 2017 is not acceptable.”
Zeigler called for a new mechanism to oust Cabinet members he called an “executive recall.” He proposed an amendment to the state constitution to allow voters to call for any executive branch leader’s removal from office. Under Zeigler’s plan, a petition signed by 10 percent of registered voters would trigger their ouster, and then a special election within 120 days to replace them.
Zeigler and the Bentley administration have also jousted over Bentley’s handing of state parks issues. Rickwood, where he will speak Saturday, was one of six parks that closed in 2015 due to budget cuts. Zeigler called the closures “bad management” back in October, saying shuttering the parks was unnecessary since they are mostly self-sustaining through entry fees and gift shop revenues.
Speaking of which, attendees of the Rockville Caverns State Park event must pay $3 for entry as visitors.