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More departures as staff shakeup continues in the Governor’s Office

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — Gov. Kay Ivey has accepted the resignation of several more staff holdovers from Gov. Robert Bentley’s resignation as a shakeup in the Governor’s Office continues.

Zach Lee, the former director of local and government affairs for Bentley, has been let go from the Governor’s staff, the Governor’s spokesperson said Monday. Franklin Johnson, Bentley’s former deputy chief of staff, and Jake Jakobs, Bentley’s aide-de-camp, are also departing the Governor’s Office, sources have told APR.

Lee has worked with Bentley since the beginning of his first term as governor in 2010.

The departures are part of the transition from Bentley’s administration to Ivey’s and are also attempts to boost morale, sources said. Last week, Ivey predicted more resignations as the new Governor establishes her own staff and senior advisers.

“Any time there is a transition or a change of administration, there are going to be changes,” Ivey said last week. “We’re going to be deliberate and consider and evaluate each one of the cabinet offices.

Since beginning her new job Monday, Ivey has shaken up the executive branch, accepting resignation letters from SERVE Alabama Director Jon Mason, Rebekah Mason’s husband; ALEA Secretary Stan Stabler, who was appointed by Bentley and ordered an internal investigation into former Secretary Spencer Collier at Bentley’s directive; and Ron Sparks, the director of Governor’s Rural Development Office, which Ivey has chosen to disband.

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Jon Mason and Stabler were considered too close to the former governor’s sex scandal. Jon, who made more than $90,000 a year, often traveled with the governor and Rebekah Mason to events, including most recently to President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Stabler had previously served as Bentley’s chief security officer and was promoted after Bentley ousted Collier after a disagreement over cooperating with the Hubbard investigation.

“I can’t tell you right now when and what positions are going to be changed, but just know some changes are coming,” Ivey said.

Bentley had been accused of misusing State funds to facilitate an affair with a former top staffer, Rebekah Mason. He resigned as part of a deal from prosecutors, agreeing to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges. He faces 12 months probation and more than $7,000 in fines.

Ivey’s office also announced Monday that Bryan Taylor, a former State senator and adviser to former Gov. Bob Riley, has been given a job as the general counsel for the Governor’s Office. David Byrne, Bentley’s chief legal adviser, will stay on through the transition.

Chip Brownlee
Written By

Chip Brownlee is a former political reporter, online content manager and webmaster at the Alabama Political Reporter. He is now a reporter at The Trace, a non-profit newsroom covering guns in America.

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