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Joint Legislative Committee will continue investigation into the Alabama State Department of Education

Sam Mattison

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By Sam Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

State Senator Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) said on Friday that the Joint Legislative Committee will continue to pursue an investigation regarding the state superintendent hiring process last year.

“We will likely recall some of the same people who have already testified and ask for explanations of differences in their testimony before the Joint Committee and findings in the recent State Department of Education report,” Dial said in a statement. “We will also ask for additional documentation from those who testify.”

Dial went on to say that they would like for former Governor Robert Bentley to explain why he “abruptly” changed his vote for the State Superintendent position.

Bentley changed his vote after an anonymous ethics complaint against State Superintendent Candidate Dr. Craig Pouncey was sent to the Ethics Commission.

The Alabama Senate established the committee last year to deal with the possible misconduct during the State Superintendent of Education hiring process.

The Alabama State Department of Education released an internal report in June about the State Superintendent hiring process that found that five ASDE officials worked to undermine the candidacy of Pouncey.

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The report, commissioned by current State Superintendent Michael Sentance, was put together by ASDE attorney Michael Meyer. The board adopted the report in June.

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The report said Board of Education Member Mary Scott Hunter, Interim State Superintendent Phillip Cleveland, General Counsel Juliana Dean, and two other attorneys within the department all conspired to undermine Pouncey’s candidacy for the State Superintendent position.

The report said the alleged conspirators worked to pursue an anonymous ethics complaint against Pouncey. The complaint centered around Pouncey’s doctoral dissertation.

Hunter and Dean both said the allegations are not true at a State Board of Education special meeting in June.

Pouncey filed a lawsuit against all the alleged conspirators in February saying they worked to discredit him.

Dial’s committee meeting is set for July 25, at 1:00 p.m. The location is not yet known.

 

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