By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Dale Peterson (R) from Shelby County has refused the job that he had just accepted as Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan’s (R) confidential advisor.
In a written statement the U-tube sensation and former candidate for Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries said, “Commissioner John McMillan and I have discussed me coming to the Department no less than four times over the last two years, most recently at my farm the week before Christmas. At that time I agreed, after John told me the Department is crumbling, in shambles and he needed someone there who has extensive business experience to put it back together. I knew it would make the other Deputy Commissioners uncomfortable due to their lack of farm and business experience. Nevertheless, I thought I could do well for the Department and the people of Alabama by accepting.”
Peterson however did not like his proposed office space, “I was told my office would not be in the headquarters building with the rest of the executive staff, but in a building at the farmers’ market. The building is in disrepair and leaking so badly when it rains that it takes at least six buckets to catch the water falling from the ceiling. It’s an embarrassment. This is also where the prisoners who do maintenance for the department are too. I was ok with that, as it was clear John did not want me at the headquarters building.”
Peterson also quickly became dissatisfied with his job responsibilities. “It became crystal clear to me that my hiring was not to help the Department or the people, but to remove me as a potential political opponent. Apparently McMillan’s goal wasn’t to look out for the good of the Department and the people, but rather to look out for his political interests by neutralizing me and keeping me obscure (like Glen Zorn, his Democratic opponent that he hired to be Assistant Commissioner), so neither of us would run against him for Commissioner in the next election.”
Peterson was critical of McMillan’s management of the department, “The morale of the department’s workers is in the toilet and justifiably so from what I could tell. They seem to be ignored and unimportant to senior management, while senior management does as they please. I got the feeling that the everyday worker could see what I already knew about senior management and especially the appointed Deputy Commissioners. Their lack of experience and failure to produce any meaningful results in the last two years is understandable, with one, Wayne Walker, apparently only there to be the driver for the Commissioner and another, Brett Hall (ex-campaign manager for Tim James) whose apparent real purpose is to prepare McMillan for his next campaign.”
The Alabama Democratic Party had been very critical of the appointment. Monday on their blog they wrote, “Apparently, Mr. Peterson is more than willing to join the ranks of individuals he once described as “thugs and criminals.” The annual salary of over $70,000, though, likely made the pill needed to jump on the bandwagon pretty easy to swallow. Folks, we can’t sit idly by and watch this type of blatant political posturing by elected officials. I’m sure John McMillan will appreciate Dale’s advice as a “Confidential Assistant;” but the fact is, there are too many Alabamians out there worrying about finding, or keeping, a job of their own for the head of the Ag Department to go around making up positions just to clear the field of 2014 opponents. Hasn’t Dale done enough to make Alabama the laughing stock of the entire country?”
Peterson concluded, “I supported John McMillan for his run for Agriculture Commissioner, because without me in the race I believed then as now, he was the best of the worst left for the people to vote for. So, two years later it is apparent that the people of Alabama have gotten a raw deal. Is that just the way politics works?”
Many have speculated (prior to Peterson’s hiring) that he was going to challenge McMillan for the 2014 Republican nomination for Agriculture Commissioner. The rift that has apparently developed between McMillan and Peterson is likely to intensify that speculation.