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Riley affirms support for Tucker, Tatum on UWA board

LIVINGSTON–After the Monday Board of Trustees meeting, Alabama Governor Bob Riley continued his support for the two appointees, Ken Tucker of Demopolis, and Foy Tatum of Montgomery that were skipped during the last Senate committee.

Riley said that he hasn’t talked to Tucker or Tatum this week, but he was sure that he was going to resubmit their names to the Senate. He hopes that this process can hurry up and be completed, so the board can start meeting as a whole.

“I hope the Senate will accept these two names, so the board can get underway with trying to rebuild the trust with the community,” Riley said.

The Senate Confirmations Committee approved John Northcutt, Thomas Ballow and Margaret Lovett to begin 12-year terms on the UWA board.

“We have not been notified of any problem with [Tucker and Tatum],” said John Matson, deputy press secretary for Riley. “No one on the committee has talked to us about it.”

In Alabama, the governor has the authority to appoint board members to all universities. However, those appointments must be confirmed by a Senate committee and then be confirmed by the entire body of the Senate. Such was the case for Northcutt, Ballow and Lovett. But the committee did not discuss Tucker and Tatum.

State Sen. E.B. McClain, who chairs the confirmations committee, did not offer much of an explanation over the omission of Tucker and Tatum. State Sen. Charles Steele, who also serves on the committee; indicated diversity was a key issue.

According to Matson, Tucker and Tatum still stand as nominees for the UWA board. Tucker was nominated to take the seat of Terry Bunn, who rotated off the board in December. Tatum was nominated to replace Robert Keahey, who also rotated off the board.

“This is not unusual,” Matson said. “We had the same thing happen last year with the Auburn Board of Trustees. The same people were nominated again, and they sailed through the Senate.”

The three members who were confirmed immediately become members of the UWA board, Matson said.

Northcutt replaces Nat Watkins; Lovett replaces Dwight Duke; and Ballow replaces Paul Hamrick. If Tucker and Tatum are not confirmed, Bunn and Keahey will keep their positions on the board until the Senate confirms new members.