Controversial AU Trustee nominations won't get vote in session

Samford Hall on Auburn University's campus.
Samford Hall on Auburn University's campus.

AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - Senate President Pro-Tem Del Marsh (R – Anniston) said Thursday evening that he will let the Auburn Board of Trustees nominations die by the end of the session.

That means the Senate will not take action, forcing Governor Robert Bentley's hand into reappointing new trustees for confirmation.

The Senate is required by law to confirm all gubernatorial nominees.

Former Auburn University Alumni Association President Andy Hornsby recently filed a civil suit against Governor Bentley and others challenging the process by which the recent batch of trustees was selected.

Bentley nominated Bobby Lowder, the longtime Colonial Bank Founder and CEO, for another term on the powerful board. He has held a seat on the Auburn Board of Trustees since 1983. Lowder was a donor to Bentley's successful 2010 campaign for the governor's office.

The suit, filed in Lee County Court, argues the governor and the search committee violated the state's open meetings law and that any actions taken at the meeting should be rendered invalid.

Marsh's Director of Communications Derek Trotter said, "Sen. Marsh is not happy with the lack of transparency of the process."

To that end, Trotter said Sen. Tom Whatley (R – Auburn) will introduce a bill to the Senate changing the makeup of the Auburn Board of Trustees to account for the current Congressional District lines.

Trotter said Marsh believes the current makeup of the board, based on Congressional lines that have been outdated for 50 years just isn't acceptable.

Lowder was part of a group of six trustees who nominated to serve an additional term on the board.

The Senate will reconvene on May 24 after a two week recess that allowed members to meet with their constituents to discuss the redistricting process.

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