Ethics commission ready to examine more restrictions on civil servants’ employment


The Alabama Ethics Commission meets on Wednesday for its final meeting of 2018 with the opportunity to revisit one of its most controversial issues of this year.

In April, the committee issued an advisory opinion on a union organizer who had been elected to the Birmingham Board of Education.

The committee ruled that the union organizer could continue to represent her employer, the American Federation of Teachers, in school systems as long as she did not do so in Birmingham. The American Federation of Teachers on its website lists Alabama chapters limited to Jefferson County, Birmingham, and Mobile.

The opinion of the organizer of the teachers’ union differed from the approach taken by the commission on two other occasions involving state lawmakers.

These notices, one in October 2016 and the other in June this year, both stated that an elected official cannot represent his employer before any government body – state or local.

In giving its opinion in June, the commission specifically cited a section of Alabama law, writing that it “prohibits a public official from lobbying or representing their employer before” any legislative body or branch of law. ‘State or local government’.

The committee could potentially clarify its position on public officials and the limits of their work for their employers in two areas.

One concerns a request for an opinion from a state senator who has just completed his term.

The second involves a lengthy application from a current Houston County commissioner who also serves as a sergeant in the Houston County Sheriff’s Department.

In either case, the parties seek advice from the commission on the limits imposed on them by Alabama law in their current employment.

Yellowhammer News spoke with commission chairman Jerry Fielding, who referred the investigation to commission staff.

Commission staff have yet to respond to Yellowhammer News’ request for information and comment.

Tim Howe is the owner and editor of Yellowhammer News.


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