By State Auditor Jim Zeigler
Montgomery, Ala. — Normally, the month of August is hot, slow and quiet in Montgomery. Dog Days. This August will be the opposite – extremely active and vital for Alabama’s people and our future.
August 2 the House Republican caucus meets to try to elect a new Speaker of the House.
August 4 the State Board of Education interviews finalists for State Superintendent of Education.
August 8 the Court of the Judiciary hears a motion by Chief Justice Roy Moore to dismiss ethics charges against him and restore him to office and a counter-motion to remove him immediately without a trial.
August 11 the State Board of Education holds its monthly meeting and could select the new Superintendent of Education.
August 15 the Alabama legislature starts a special session to consider a constitutional amendment referendum for a lottery to fund “basic services.”
August 24 the deadline runs to get amendments on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.
Sometime in August at a date not set yet, preliminary proceedings could start in Zeigler v. Bentley to void the $47 million contract for the failed STAARS software.
The organized interest groups who have lobbyists and other trained personnel will be on hand for all of these vital meetings. But who will be there watching and maybe speaking for the taxpayers of Alabama? Who is the advocate for Alabama taxpayers?
I’ve checked and can find no official and no private citizen who is planning on monitoring these decision-making meetings for taxpayers. And no one planning on speaking or lobbying for the taxpayers, when that is allowed.
The closest thing I can find to a presence for the public is the news media, and they by and large are supposed to be neutral rather than to advocate.
So I, Jim Zeigler, will fill the role of taxpayer spokesman even though it is not specifically in the job description of State Auditor. But I am also a citizen and taxpayer, so I can show up and speak up in that role.
I will be there and will work to be the ombudsman for the taxpayers. I will attempt to keep you informed via my Facebook page, Zeigler: “.” To stay informed, LIKE this page and watch for the posts on your own Timeline. All August.