By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY — Most incoming governors have a few months to plan for their transition into power. Gov. Kay Ivey had a few hours.
Ivey, fresh into her new job, is evaluating all appointed staff and cabinet positions within the Governor’s Office to determine who to keep on and who to let go, her spokesperson said Wednesday. That includes the high-profile positions of Alabama Law Enforcement Secretary and Medicaid Commissioner.
“She’s evaluating the staff as well as the cabinet members,” said Eileen Jones, Ivey’s spokesperson.
So far, only Jon Mason, Rebekah Mason’s husband and former Gov. Robert Bentley’s director of SERVE Alabama, has been asked to resign. Bentley appointed Jon Mason to as the director of the Governor’s Office of Faith-based Outreach and Volunteer Services in 2011.
He made over $90,000 a year.
It remains unclear how many Bentley holdovers Ivey will choose to keep in her administration as it moves forward. Several staffers, including Bentley’s former spokesperson Yasamie August, have already been replaced. Changing staff and cabinet appointments is a common, almost universal move when a new governor takes office.
An ALEA spokesman said Tuesday that he was not sure if Secretary Stan Stabler would be sticking around for the rest of Ivey’s term. Stabler, who took the post after Bentley fired former ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier, has been under fire for his role in investigating Collier for misuse of state funds and the release of an unconfirmed report detailing unsubstantiated allegations against Collier.
The report, which was an internal ALEA administrative report, was reviewed by House Special Counsel Jack Sharman in his 130-page bombshell report into Bentley. The report found that Bentley misused State law enforcement and subjected them to tasks meant to protect him from public scrutiny.
The unsubstantiated report against Collier accused him of sexual harassment, but those allegations were later retracted by the same people quoted in the report. They told Collier’s attorney that their quotes had been fabricated or taken out of context.
The ALEA spokesperson said they will find out within the next week whether Stabler will stay.
Ivey is also expected to bring on former US Rep. Jo Bonner, who served from 2003–2013, as a political adviser, sources close to the transition say. Bonner served as the chairman of the House Ethics Committee during his time as a US representative.
Bonner currently serves as the vice chancellor of economic development for the University of Alabama System. Bonner has worked with state leaders to advance the system’s strategic interests, the System’s website says.