State Auditor Jim Zeigler says his office is under attack by the administration of Gov. Robert Bentley, and Zeigler intends to fight back in the Capitol.
Bentley and some allies in the Legislature want lawmakers want to pass a bill granting the Governor authority to appoint two key positions on the 7-member Cabinet: Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, and you guessed it, State Auditor.
Currently the positions are elected statewide by voters.
The bill — HB 432, sponsored by Rep. Paul Beckman, a Republican from Prattville — would authorize a proposed amendment the Alabama constitution to change that.
The legislation will be heard Wednesday, April 20 in the House Constitution, Campaigns, and Elections Committee. Beckman serves as Vice Chair of the panel. Zeigler will testify in person against the bill when the meeting convenes at 9 a.m.
Zeigler, an outspoken critic of the Bentley administration, called the bill a “power grab” by the governor after Beckman introduced the bill in March. He says moreover the inclusion of the Ag Commissioner as part of the Cabinet shakeup is simply window dressing, “a strategy to make it look like they are not targeting me.”
“I believe that I am the main target of this legislation,” said Zeigler of the proposal.
Zeigler has also criticized the merits of the bill, which he says would eliminate a value check against executive power in state government.
“Having the Governor appoint the State Auditor would be the fox guarding the hen house,” Zeigler said.