Progress in Education
State Schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice says progress is being made at both Montgomery and Selma public schools as education officials implement recommended changes following investigations into those school systems. An interposition is underway in Montgomery, where Dr. Bice says huge strides are evident. He was also upbeat about the intervention in Selma. Department of Education officials interceded after reports of grade changing at both schools and allegations of a sexual encounter between a teacher and student in Selma.
Hammett's New Job
Former House Speaker Seth Hammett is taking over as Governor Robert Bentley's chief of staff on an interim basis. David Perry is leaving the post for a new job with Protective Life Insurance in Birmingham. Perry began as Bentley's state finance director in 2011 and then moved up to chief of staff. Hammett spent 12 years as speaker of the House before retiring in 2010. He served as interim director of the state's industry recruiting agency for six months at the start of Bentley's term in 2011 and then returned to his hometown of Andalusia. Bentley says Hammett is a proven leader.
The former Autauga County Commission chairman has been sentenced for ethics violations and theft charges. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said in a statement that Danny Chavers of Prattville was sentenced to 46 months in jail. Chavers' sentence was suspended and he's been ordered to serve six months followed by two years of supervised probation and 320 hours of community service. Chavers, who also served as chief of the Autaugaville Volunteer Fire Department and head of the city's water works, pleaded guilty to using fire department money for personal expenses.
Thirteen more Alabama counties are qualifying for federal assistance due to the storms, tornadoes and flooding that hit the state in late April and early May. The Federal Emergency Management Agency says state and local government programs and some nonprofit organizations may apply for disaster assistance in Blount, Butler, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Geneva, Lamar, Perry, Pickens and Tuscaloosa counties. FEMA says the aid can include debris removal, emergency protective measures, and work on roads, bridges and public buildings.