By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Former Deputy State Finance Director, Clinton Carter, is returning to the government service to advise on revenue and financial policy. According to sources in Governor Robert Bentley’s inner circle, and those with close ties to Finance, Carter is being groomed to replace Acting Finances Director, Bill Newton. Reliable insiders claim Newton hand-picked his successor to ensure access to the department, and those who are well-tended by cushy contracts doled out under his watch. But there is doubt that Carter is that pliable.
Newton accumulated around $1,000,000 from the DROP program, and is to retire in the near future. His tenure was almost cut short, due to several testy run-ins with Rebekah Caldwell Mason earlier in the year insiders say. These same sources claim Mason, then Gov. Bentley’s Senior Advisor and paramour, rather than seeking revenge made a common cause with Newton over the no-bid, $800 million prison debacle.
Carter is well respected on Goat Hill, but his new job comes with some troubling baggage, as lingering suspicions remain over Newton’s handling of the department; largely stemming from no-bid contracts with CGI.com, the suppliers of the failed STAARS accounting system and contracts with other vendors, including the purchase of phones are seen as thorny issues ripe for investigation.
For the last several years, Carter served as VP for Business and Financial Affairs at the University of North Alabama (UNA). His prior private sector experience as Director of Corporate Development, Mergers and Acquisitions for Huntsville-based Intergraph Corporation, and his time in investment banking and finance with Wachovia and Merrill Lynch, are seen as much needed skills at Finances.
Carter and his wife Rebecca both are honored graduates of UNA.