Siegelman#039;s credibility shadowed

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 8, 2003

It does seem a bit preposterous.

Less than two months after leaving office, former governor Don Siegelman is still taking advantage of Alabama's resources.

Now, state officials have confirmed that Siegelman has taken advantage of a state law which allows a former governor to use a state-paid security detail and driver for up to five years after leaving office.

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And, apparently, Siegelman has requested those perks at least twice.

Rightfully so, he's come under public fire for those requests.

The use of state-funded resources to provide drivers and security seems at best frivolous. The mere fact that Siegelman would have the gall to request that perk seems, well, incredible.

As a former governor, Don Siegelman should know all too well the financial crisis Alabama faces. And while one car trip or two won't bankrupt the state, the perception that it creates among the voting public is enough to bankrupt Siegelman's future trust.

As Alabamians, we want – and expect – frugal and responsible leadership among our state's elected officials. We expect them to serve without seeking – and taking advantage of – the perks of the office.

As governor, Siegelman walked a thin line with the public. Ethics scandals and investigations into no-bid contract abuses permeated his tenure in office. His credibility is already shadowed by those charges and, with these latest complaints about using state-paid drivers and security, many taxpayers will see the former governor in an even dimmer light.