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Alabama lobbyists violate 2-year college rules.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Lobbyists have been representing Jefferson State and Central Alabama community colleges in the state Legislature, which is a violation of a systemwide ban on the practice, officials said.

The Birmingham News reported that records indicate lobbyists representing both schools have rescinded their state registrations.

System spokeswoman Martha Simmons said presidents of the colleges met with Chancellor Freida Hill, and that any lobbying activity not authorized by the chancellor "constitutes insubordination" on the part of the colleges.

The two-year system barred lobbying by individual colleges in 2005 after some lobbyists and college officials were implicated in a wide-ranging federal investigation. Lobbying was limited to the system, rather than the individual schools, as part of the effort to clean up the corruption.

But the limits haven't always been strictly enforced and Simmons said registered lobbyists Wayne Shaddix and Steve Mahaffey were reported to be on the floor of the Legislature.

Both Shaddix, who represented Jefferson State, and Mahaffey, who represented Central Alabama, have filed with the Alabama Ethics Commission to rescind their registrations as lobbyists for the schools, according to state records.

Judy Merritt, president of Jefferson State, said Shaddix is a full-time employee in the college's office of governmental relations who was registered erroneously and as a matter of routine. His registration was rescinded immediately after Hill raised concerns.

"It was a mistake. We haven't hired a lobbyist," Merritt said. Merritt said that system policy bars the hiring of outside lobbyists, not the use of full-time employees.

Efforts to reach officials with Central Alabama were unsuccessful. But a man identified as Steve Mahaffey was paid $2,617 by the college during the 2009 legislative session, according to financial disclosure records.

Mahaffey, who is not listed as a college employee on the school's Web site, had been registered as a lobbyist for the institution since at least 2008, according to Ethics Commission records.
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Publication:Community College Week
Date:Mar 22, 2010
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