11:26am

Fri February 20, 2009
WVAS Local

State Lawmaker Testifies in Fraud Trial

Decatur, Alabama – DECATUR, Ala. (AP) - State Rep. Sue Schmitz told jurors in her
fraud trial Thursday that she took a job in the two-year college
system to stay in the teachers' retirement system.
A Democrat from Toney, Schmitz is accused of using her influence
as a legislator to get the job in a program that mentors troubled
teenagers and then rarely showing up for work as she collected
$177,000 over three years.
She told the federal court jury in Decatur that she mentioned
needing a job to everyone she knew in education, including Alabama
Education Association chief Paul Hubbert. She quoted Hubbert as
saying, "he would keep it in mind."
Schmitz said the main reason she wanted a job was so she could
remain in the teacher's retirement system for a few more years. She
was a social studies teacher at Sparkman High School, but was
forced to look for a job when the Madison County school board in
2002 said she could not continue to pay a substitute to teach her
classes while she was attending legislative meetings in Montgomery.
Schmitz said she never asked the state education budget be
raised so she could have a job. "I would never do that," she
said.
She said if Alabama House Speaker Seth Hammett said that, it's
"just not true."