Speaker Mike Hubbard appoints former pol who removed Confederate flags to state board

AP Photo/Dave Martin

While one could get rich off asking the question “What was he thinking?” about Speaker Mike Hubbard, I have to question why, in the midst of his own criminal trial, Speaker Hubbard would attract unnecessary negative attention to himself by making what can only be considered a questionable appointment.

As Alabama Today previously reported, in May former lawmaker Myron Penn decided that it was his right, responsibility even, to walk into a public cemetery and remove small confederate flags that had been planted on the graves of confederate soldiers because he personally deemed them offensive.

The story received national attention and though defenders of the confederate flag noted that it is against the law to remove things from gravesides ultimately no charges were filed.

Now reasonable people would probably think this is where Penn’s story would end however in a social media post last week State Auditor Jim Ziegler announced that he had been tipped off to Penn’s appointment to the State Personnel Board. Ziegler initially wrote a scathing social media report believing Governor Robert Bentley made the appointment. He later removed his original post when the Governor’s office denied the appointment. Alabama Today was able to confirm that Speaker Mike Hubbard had indeed appointed Penn.

As to why he got the appointment Speaker Hubbard’s office said, “Mr. Penn was selected to serve on the State Personnel Board based on his career experience and legislative service, which provided the needed familiarity with state employee issues.”

When asked about the flag incident the speakers office replied, “To my knowledge, the State Personnel Board does not make decisions on where the confederate flag is flown so that was not part of the consideration for this position.”

Fair point if not for the question about Penn’s judgement.

By removing the flags based on his personal beliefs does Penn believe he’s above the law or rules and that his personal beliefs trump that of others? When there were other alternatives available, such as calling the city to report or question the flags, why did Penn feel like instead he should walk into a cemetery and remove items for the graveyards of soldiers?

In the bigger picture I believe this is a matter of judgement and today I’m questioning not just Penn’s but also Speaker Hubbard’s.


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