Steve Pelham, the chief of staff to Gov. Kay Ivey, is planning to resign from that position later this week, multiple sources close to the governor’s office have told APR.
Pelham is expected to take a job in the Auburn University president’s office, working directly for university President Steven Leath.
He will remain with Ivey’s administration for 30 days ensuring a smooth transition.
The move is a dramatic shakeup in Ivey’s office, where Pelham was long considered one of the most influential voices. In fact, at times, people in and around the governor’s office referred to Pelham as the “acting governor,” and he was leaned on heavily by Ivey to make day-to-day decisions.
Her trust in Pelham isn’t hard to understand.
He took over as her chief of staff when she took office as the state’s lieutenant governor in 2011. He never left her side, helping her navigate the tricky transition to governor when Robert Bentley resigned in 2017.
Pelham’s workload increased over the last year, as Ivey — already known for her tendency to work outside of the office — missed even more days while campaigning. For much of the year, Pelham was the de facto governor of the state.
It’s unclear at this point who would replace Pelham — if Ivey will look to promote from within the office or look elsewhere, perhaps seeking a strong voice to help her better communicate with lawmakers as they ready for fights over a gas tax increase and the building of new state prisons.