By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Last week, SB487 passed in the Senate, while the bill’s sponsor was on vacation with his girlfriend.
A bill to establish a local legislative office in Lee Country was passed last week, even though the sponsor, Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn), was in sunny Jamaica, according to his Senate colleagues. The bill to open a Legislative Delegation Office gives Whatley the opportunity to have an office in the district, and hire a full-time staffer. According to the bill’s language, “The salary shall be set…at a rate of not more than the salary payable to the Chief Probate Clerk of Lee County.” The salary will include benefits, expenses and per diem, all coming from tax payer dollars courtesy of the Lee County Commission. This would place the staff salary at around $120,000 annually.
The bill passed in the Senate on Tuesday, but that evening, the Lee County Commission passed a resolution opposing the bill. However, the Lee County Senator was not even in the country.
In a week that saw critical debate on the future of the State’s struggling finances, Whatley found it more important to frolic on the beach with his girlfriend. Earlier this year, Whatley was charged with abusing her. The case was swept away after he and his girlfriend denied the incident ever happened, despite the Auburn police report.
Whatley is serving his second term as Republican Senator of Lee County.