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Alabama Higher Ed Board Restricts System Employee Flex Policy

The state board of education took the first step Tuesday
toward approving a new policy that would restrict the way system employees use
flexible work schedules.

School board members voted to have the policy evaluated by
its review committee. They will then discuss it at their Aug. 6 work session
and could approve it at is meeting later that month.

Chancellor Bradley Byrne said the policy would essentially
prohibit system employees from using flextime to work on anything outside the
system where they would receive pay or compensation.

The policy accompanies two of Gov. Bob Riley’s proposals
that would restrict the amount of time public education employees can spend out
of the office and prohibit them from holding elected public office.

“You can’t really make those work without (the flex
policy),” Byrne said.

The board currently does not have any policy regarding
flextime. The term has traditionally been used to describe employee schedules
that are outside their normal 8-hour work shifts.

Riley encouraged board members to meet without a quorum to
discuss all three policies.

“There’s so much over the next month with some of the
policies and procedures,” he said. “I think every one of us needs to
take an opportunity among ourselves to talk about what is being proposed and

Board members also voted to elect Birmingham
businessman David Byers as vice president and named Randy McKinney of Gulf
Shores as president pro tem at
their annual K-12 meeting before the post-secondary session.

Byers, who replaces Sandra Ray of Tuscaloosa
as vice president, said he looked forward to his new responsibilities and
working under Byrne, who he credited with easing tension that had been present
among the board in previous meetings.

“It’s because Bradley has come in with a clear vision
of what needs to be done and there’s no longer a void of power that can cause
friction,” said Byers, who has spent 12 years on the board. “Now
there’s a very clear power in place. You know what to expect.”

Byrne said things were going “extremely smoothly”
at the troubled Bishop and Shelton State
community colleges, where interim presidents have been named.

He also said a transitional team dubbed “Project
Phoenix” has began efforts to turn things around at Bishop
State to get the Mobile
campus out of probation and back in good standing to receive federal financial

Riley said Bishop State
was critical to work force development in south Alabama,
where the ThyssenKrupp AG’s $3.7 billion steel plant will be built.

The college’s first priority is the probation status, he
said, and second on the list is getting work force development going because a
new project will soon be announced for the area.

– Associated Press

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