House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, announced on Monday, that Jim Entrekin, his chief of staff accepted a new position within the state Legislature as general counsel for the Legislative Services Agency.
“I congratulate Jimmy on this well-earned new opportunity, and as grateful as I am to have had him as my chief of staff, it would be selfish to expect him to turn down the opportunity he has been offered,” McCutcheon said. “Luckily, his new role will allow him to continue to work closely with the House and Senate, and we will still be able to call upon him for his advice and analytical insight.”
State House staffers speaking on background say, Representative Mark Tuggle, R- Alexander City, will replace Entrekin as McCutcheon’s chief of staff.
The Speaker’s Office didn’t announce Entrekin’s immediate replacement because according to well-placed insiders Tuggle’s appointment is being held up by the Ethics Commission.
Tuggle earned public notoriety and good-natured scorn last year when he sponsored legislation to tax The Forever Wild Land Trust, which is a state-organized program to create nature preserves, recreation areas, state parks or wildlife management areas.
The bill died in the House, but Tuggle blamed the media, not his colleagues, for its defeat.
His legislation was considered a runner-up for the Shroud Award, a lighthearted ceremony at the end of the session to recognize the representative who sponsored the “deadest piece of legislation.”
From the House floor, Tuggle berated the press in a fashion rarely seen in the lower chamber.
State House staffers also say Entrekin was pushed-up rather than pushed-out because of McCutcheon’s kindheartedness.
House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, D – Madison, also had congratulations to offer Entrekin.
“Jim did an excellent job as the Speaker’s chief of staff and worked well with members on both sides of the political aisle,” Daniels said. “He is well respected among members, and I look forward to working with him in his new role.”
House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, R- Rainsville, commented on the ease of the transition from Entrekin’s former position to his new job.
“While serving as the Speaker’s chief of staff, Jim was a valuable source of timely, accurate, and unbiased analysis of bills, resolutions, and other measures,” Ledbetter said. “We are lucky that he will remain in the State House and continue to share his legal skills with the Legislature.”
The LSA, Legislative Services Agency, is a non-partisan branch that provides fiscal and legal support services to the Alabama House and Senate. Entrekin will now be providing legal guidance and liaison services in various areas of the Legislature and to its members.
According to the press release, Entrekin was a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law. He also worked in private legal practice with an emphasis on appellate, business/contract, and labor/employment law. Entrekin also served as a law clerk for the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, as well as served as a law clerk in the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.
The rumored Ethics Commission delay may or may not keep Tuggle from moving on to the currently vacant chief of staff position under Speaker McCutcheon.