Alabama State president gets car allowance, but doesn't own a car



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MONTGOMERY, Alabama — The contract for Alabama State University's president provides her a car allowance of $1,000 per month, but she doesn't own a car.

The Montgomery Advertiser (http://on.mgmadv.com/1rL486D ) reports that campus police drive President Gwendolyn Boyd, and the police officer who does most of the driving had more than $12,000 in overtime between Feb. 1 and June 1.

Boyd said having an officer drive her is nothing new.

"As president and CEO of ASU, it has been a standard requirement for the president of ASU to have a security escort," she said.

She said the campus public safety director is responsible for scheduling officers and the scheduling should be done in a manner that doesn't call for overtime.

Former trustee Vice Chairman Marvin Wiggins first raised the issue of Boyd's car allowance and police driver. That was before Gov. Robert Bentley removed him from the Alabama State board on Friday.

Wiggins, a circuit judge for several west Alabama counties, said he has no problem with Boyd getting a car allowance or having someone drive her. "But you simply cannot take the car allowance, not have a car and then cause thousands of dollars in charges to drive you everywhere," he said.

Boyd's contract, which she signed Jan. 2, calls for her to provide her own vehicle for business use and for the board to provide insurance coverage and a credit card to cover gas and maintenance. That is in addition to the allowance.

Boyd, an Alabama State graduate, was an administrator at Johns Hopkins University before taking the Alabama State job.

Last week, Gov. Bentley, president of the Alabama State board of trustees by virtue of his office, called for Wiggins and trustee Chairman Elton Dean to resign by Thursday afternoon. His demand drew support from the presidents of the national alumni association and the Student Government Association. Dean resigned, but Wiggins refused. The governor removed him Friday and named Ralph D. Ruggs, executive director of the Tuscaloosa Housing Authority, to serve the remainder of Wiggins' term.

On Monday, the governor scheduled a special meeting of the Alabama State board for Friday Aug. 8. on the Montgomery campus. His announcement did not give a reason for the meeting.

In a related development, former Alabama State trustee Donald Watkins of Birmingham distributed a letter saying he made a mistake when he recommended Boyd for the university presidency. He said Boyd and Bentley have formed "an unholy alliance."

"By removing any member of the board of trustees who discharged his/her statutory duty by questioning Boyd's administrative actions and extravagant expenditures, Bentley has established an 'Imperial Presidency' in Boyd," Watkins wrote.

University spokesman Ken Mullinax said the university had no comment on Watkins' letter.

Alabama State has been in turmoil since late 2012, when Joseph Silver resigned as president after questioning some financial practices at the university. The governor hired a Birmingham firm to do a forensic audit and turned over its preliminary findings to state and federal prosecutors. Moody's recently downgraded the university's bond rating and an accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, gave the university a six-month warning.

Boyd said Monday she is working to respond to the accrediting agency and is confident the six-month warning will be removed. "We will also respond to Moody's concerns and will work diligently to get our credit rating restored," she said.


Information from: Montgomery Advertiser, http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com

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