Gov. rejects resolution on Acadome renaming

Governor Bob Riley explains his reasoning to WSFA 12 News reporter Eileen Jones.
Governor Bob Riley explains his reasoning to WSFA 12 News reporter Eileen Jones.

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama Governor Bob Riley has vetoed a resolution that would have restored former Alabama State University trustee Joe L. Reed's name to the ASU Acadome.

Reed's name was pulled off the signature building on ASU's campus in May of 2008 after the Board of Trustees said he damaged the university's reputation, among other reasons. Reed continues to say the board's move was retaliation.

As late as April, 2009 Reed and supporters were speaking at the Alabama State House on the issue. "I oppose, and still oppose, some expenditures that were being made and the way they were being made, and the resolution that took my name down says part of that, not all of it," he explained. "That's why my name was taken off. I was trying to do my duty."

"To me, this has nothing to do with Joe Reed," the governor said in a statement Friday. "I would veto this if they were naming it the Ronald Reagan Acadome. I vetoed this because I believe the Legislature should not micro-manage our universities.  It's bad policy for legislators to insert themselves in matters that boards of trustees are appointed to handle."

WSFA 12 News asked Joe Reed for his reaction upon learning the news. "I was somewhat surprised," he said. He felt with both houses of the legislature supporting the resolution, the governor would sign it. "I certainly didn't realize that he would hold it until the last minute to send his veto back."

Reed said the governor is entitled to veto a resolution if he has a good reason. However, he didn't agree with the governor's thinking on the matter.

Riley believes legislators who get involved in matters like what universities should name a building are on a slippery slope. "You get the possibility of legislators making threats about funding if trustees don't do what they want," Riley said.

The governor cited House Majority Leader Ken Guin's (D-Tuscaloosa) words as an example saying, "When he [Guin] was quoted saying, 'I wouldn't want to ignore a resolution passed by those who fund me,'" Riley said that sounded like blackmail.

"We have to accept the veto and go forward unless we find something else we don't know about," Reed said. He's not giving up on the issue. Reed still has a case pending before the courts on the basis that the ASU Board of Trustees violated the Open Meetings Act when they made their decision. It wasn't immediately known when a decision would be made on that front.