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March 5, 2003

Riley to announce AIDB board nominees 'soon'

From: Daily Home Online, AL - 04 Mar 2003

By David Atchison

Gov. Bob Riley held several meetings last week with his appointment director to discuss possible candidates for the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Board of Trustees.

Pepper Bryars, Riley’s press secretary, said the governor has been going over and reviewing potential nominees for the board with his appointment director.

It is still uncertain when Riley will announce his nominees to the AIDB Board of Trustees.

"I can't say it will be this week, but it will be soon," Bryars said.

He said Riley's list of nominees will go before the Senate confirmation committee for approval, and he doesn't expect the committee to reject any of the candidates.

"Gov. Riley is going to select candidates with world class stature, so we do not expect any of them not to be approved," Bryars said.

Last week, current board members Ronnie Garrett, Lynwood French, Amy Burks, Chipper Dobbs, Jackie Smith, Bunny Gamble and Morris Savage received letters from Riley's office thanking them for their participation, but informing them that their services "were no longer needed."

AIDB President Dr. Terry Graham was not notified of the dismissal of board members until some of the board members contacted him about the correspondence they received.

Bryars said last week that board members and Graham misunderstood the letters, adding that Riley technically did not dismiss these appointees because they were never official board members.

"These seven board members were nominees, not appointees," Bryars said. "They are not officially board members until they are approved by the Senate."

Bryars said the Riley administration has withdrawn all of the former administration's appointments.

He said some or all of the seven board members dismissed may be nominated by Riley, but the governor is taking his time with the board selections because he has a special interest in the institute, which is in the Third Congressional District he represented in the U.S. Congress.

State Sen. Jim Preuitt, a Democrat, said about 50 of former Gov. Don Siegelman’s appointments are being reconsidered by the Riley administration. He said he hopes for a quick resolution to the membership of the AIDB Board of Trustees.

"These individuals have already been nominated and serving the school as board members," Preuitt said of the current Board of Trustees. "I want the same seven board members to be nominated and confirmed."

With the dismissal of the seven board members, the board cannot establish a quorum, which means the institute has no governing body.

Bill Kimber, public relations coordinator for AIDB, said the lack of a quorum or board has not affected the operations of the institute.

"But we don't want to be in a position of not having a board for any extended period," he said. "Hopefully, this will get settled quickly."

The AID Board of Trustees met last on Feb. 18, and the next board meeting is not slated until May.

About David Atchison
David Atchison is a staff writer for The Daily Home.

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