An Example Of Troy King’s Work

Got this in my e-mail:

Dear Friend:

On Tuesday, November 7th, I am asking you to vote for John Tyson, Jr., Attorney General.

I support Mr. Tyson, because the state of Alabama needs an Attorney General who will fight crime and not do the bidding of the special interest groups in Montgomery.

In August of 2001, I was the first conservationist in years to be appointed to the Alabama Environmental Management Commission. I was appointed to the “ecologist” position on the board.

Subsequently, the following spring of 2002, my appointment was unanimously approved by the Alabama State Senate.

On October 19, 2004, I made the motion to dismiss James Warr as the director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).  That motion was supported by a majority of the Commission members.  A difficult decision, our action was further exacerbated by Mr. Warr declaring himself “acting” director, despite being dismissed by the Commission. The move to dismiss Mr. Warr also upset many special interest groups who do business with ADEM.

On Friday, October 29th, Rep. Steve McMillian, twin brother of John McMillian, longtime director of the Alabama Forestry Association requested an Attorney General’s Opinion questioning my qualifications.

On election day, Tuesday, November 2, 2004, taking only 2 business days, in lieu of doing his job enforcing the election laws of the state, Attorney General Troy King found time to issue an AG opinion answering Rep. McMillian’s question, casting doubt on my qualifications to serve on the Alabama Environmental Management Commission.

His opinion claimed that an ecologist, must have a degree in ecology. My degree was in environmental studies from the University of Alabama.  The undisputed evidence showed that when the law creating ADEM in 1982 was passed, there were no ecology degrees offered in the state of Alabama by an accredited college.  Neither were ecology degrees offered in 1988, the year I graduated or 2004, the year the AG opinion was written.

Be mindful, this opinion was “written” in 2 business days.

Most AG opinions take at least a month, to construct an opinion, and in many cases much longer.  In fact, the Environmental Management Commission had requested an AG’s opinion from Mr. King on October 19, 2004, (before the McMillian request) concerning clarification on our Chair and Vice-Chair position.  An opinion for that question did not get answered until February.

On December 3rd, using the AG’s Opinion as the reason, two individuals brought a quo warranto action against me, stating I was not qualified to serve on the Commission.  Unsurprisingly, a fellow commissioner who voted to dismiss the director also had a quo warranto action brought against him in November of 2004.

These actions set into motion, the “probing” of my personal life that included my tax returns, personnel files from one of my places of work, my college transcript and lengthy depositions.

After a year and half, we did prevail, but I was fortunate to have an attorney that worked for free. He estimates, my attorney fees would have amounted to over $25,000.  To place that into perspective, the Commission position pays $100 a meeting.  We normally hold 6 meetings a year. 

Independent state commissions and boards are responsible for holding state government accountable. And Lord knows somebody needs to hold our state bureaucracies accountable.

What does it say about the power of Montgomery special interest groups when they can retaliate against a commissioner or state board members they disagree with, using a constitutional office of the state? Especially the office charged with enforcing the law.

From my experience the attorney general’s office is too important to leave to someone who plays to this kind of politics. I strongly urge you to vote for John Tyson, Jr., Tuesday, November 7th.

Best Wishes,

Pat Byington

I commented on this case here, concluding:

Why did King interpret the statute in such a ridiculous manner? Maybe he wanted a particular outcome. Maybe he lacks interpretive skills. Biased or incompetent; either way, his error was a major factor in this wasteful lawsuit. Either way, his performance in this case does not inspire confidence in him for future cases.

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3 Comments on “An Example Of Troy King’s Work”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Wheeler, I noted over at my place the similar smell between this opinion and the one that allowed Mary Buckelew and the JeffCo Commission to adopt a storm water ordinance written by BARD. Seems Troy always has time for those.

  2. JCH Says:

    I totally forgot about all that. I was working for ADEM at the time. I always thought it was odd that I walked past Warr’s office everyday but never actually saw him. I didn’t even know what he looked like until his “retirement” party.

  3. Barry Says:

    I was one of the attorneys that represented Pat Byington in the frivolous lawsuit that was filed against him as a part of the plot to force him from office for agreeing to fire Warr. (I thought Republicans were opposed to frivolous lawsuits). Troy King willingly and knowingly used his authority to issue advisory opinions for raw political purposes. The opinion that his office issued in only 48 hours contained the kind of specious legal reasoning that would cause one to fail the bar exam. Troy King deserves to get an “F” next Tuesday.


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