Gov. Ivey remains quiet as legislators investigate superintendent hiring

Alabama State Capitol

Mums the word when the president of the State Board of Education, Governor Kay Ivey, was asked about the Joint Legislative Committee resuming its investigation into possible misconduct surrounding the selection process of the State Superintendent of Education Michael Sentance.

According to her staff, Ivey, who was sworn in as governor in April following former-Gov. Robert Bentley‘s resignation, was not part of the hiring process and therefore believes its inappropriate to comment on the investigation.

“Governor Ivey believes that the highest priority should be placed on ensuring that all Alabama children receive the highest quality education possible,” Daniel Sparkman, Press Secretary for Governor Ivey, told Alabama Today. “Because she is new to her role as president of the board and she did not participate in the hiring of Mr. Sentence, nor has she participated in reviewing him, it is not appropriate for her to comment on the current situation, when her focus is best placed on the needs of Alabama’s students.”

Lineville-Republican state Sen. Gerald Dial on Friday announced the committee would resume its inquiry into the selection process on Tuesday.

In August 2016, the Alabama State Senate created a Joint Legislative Committee to investigate concerns surrounding questionable actions taken by the Ethics Commission and State Department of Education employees and its board members in influencing the selection process of Sentance.

“In light of the many news articles regarding the internal report recently produced by the State Department of Education, the recurring rumors of retaliatory actions taken against state employees, and what now seems to be conflicting testimony provided to our Joint Legislative Committee, it is necessary to reconvene the committee and get clarification on certain discrepancies,” Dial said in a statement.

“We will likely recall some of the same people who have already testified and ask for explanations of differences in their testimony before the Joint Committee and findings in the recent State Department of Education report. We will also ask for additional documentation from those who testify. Former Governor Robert Bentley, who chaired the State Board of Education and who abruptly changed his vote after the revelation of an anonymous complaint filed with the Ethics Commission, should also have the opportunity to explain his reasons for doing so, especially in light of recent findings.”

“We are looking to reconvene the committee as soon as possible. Employees at the Department of Education must get back to the business of educating Alabama’s young people, rather than using state time and taxpayer resources to undermine the State Superintendent selection process.

The committee will meet at 1:00 p.m. Final details on the meeting’s location have yet to be announced.