ALEA Secretary Stan Stabler out amid cabinet shake-up – Montgomery Advertiser
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Stan Stabler is stepping down amid a major shake-up of former Gov. Robert Bentley’s cabinet.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has resigned instead of faccing impeachment. He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor campaign violations, that arose during an investigation of his alleged affair with a top aide. The 74-year-old Republican and one-time Baptist deacon stepped down as the scandal gathered force over the past few days. Legislators turned up the pressure by opening impeachment hearings Monday. The Alabama Ethics Commission cited evidence last week that Bentley broke state ethics and campaign laws and referred the matter to prosecutors.
Robyn Bryan, a spokeswoman for the agency, said Wednesday afternoon Stabler submitted retirement papers this morning. He served as ALEA Secretary since March 2016. Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement Wednesday afternoon she had accepted his resignation and appointed Hal Taylor acting ALEA Secretary in his place.
âHal Taylor is a man of the utmost integrity who I trust during this time of transition to help in my vision of improving Alabamaâs image,â Ivey said in a statement. âI also thank the hundreds of men and women in our state law enforcement ranks who work every day to protect us.â
Ivey, who became governor Monday after Bentley pleaded guilty to misdemeanor campaign finance charges and resigned,Â has requested resignation letters from Bentley’s staff.Â On Tuesday, IveyÂ fired Jon Mason, Bentley’s director of faith-based services, Tuesday. Mason is the husband of Rebekah Mason, whose alleged affair with Bentley triggered a chain of events that led to the governor’s resignation Monday. Ivey also accepted the resignation of Ron Sparks, the former Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries who served as Bentley’s Rural Development Agency Director.
Eileen Jones, a spokeswoman for Ivey, said Wednesday Ivey had not given a reason for accepting Sparks’ resignation. The governor’s statement on Stabler’s departure lacked aÂ routine gesture of thanks or appreciation.
Before becoming head of ALEA, Stabler was the leader of Bentley’s security detail.Â According to Heather Hannah, former First Lady Dianne Bentley’s chief of staff, quoted in a report filed for Bentley’s possible impeachment, fed information to Hannah and Dianne Bentley about the relationship. Stabler, who also spoke to House Judiciary Committee investigators for the report, denied feeding information to Dianne Bentley’s camp but did convey the First Lady’s concerns about Mason attending the inauguration to Gov. Bentley.
“He told Governor Bentley that, although he did not want to betray Ms. Bentleyâs trust, ‘I work for you,'” the report said.
The report said Bentley — furious with ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier for signing an affidavit in the criminal investigation of then-House Speaker Mike Hubbard — promoted Stabelr to ALEA Secretary while moving to fire Collier. Stabler fired four employees close to Collier and launched an investigation of complaints into Collier while Collier was on medical leave, while providing Bentley regular updates on the investigation.
Bentley fired Collier on March 22, issuing a statement saying that an investigation of ALEA had uncovered a number of issues, “including possible misuse of state funds.” The Alabama attorney general’s office issued a statement last fall saying they had cleared Collier of any wrongdoing.
A day after his firing, Collier held a press conference where he made the first allegations that Bentley and Mason had an affair.
Taylor worked as Collier’s chief of staff and before that as security for Gov. Bob Riley. Ivey’s statement said they would search for a person for the position.
The House State Government Committee Wednesday afternoon approved a bill from Rep. Phillip Pettus, R-Killen, that would abolish ALEA. Legislators in 2013 approved legislation to consolidate the state’s law enforcement agencies under the ALEA banner, but the move has brought a growing chorus of criticism as promised savings from ALEA have not materialized. But the legislation likely faces long odds of passage; Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Annisto, spearheaded the consolidation efforts.
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