If Bill Johnson and Gov. Bob Riley at the same social event wasn’t awkward before Wednesday it likely is now. Johnson, you may remember, abruptly resigned from the Governor’s cabinet in June to meet an ultimatum from the Governor to resign or announce he was not going to run for Governor.
Wednesday on the Matt Murphy radio show, Johnson answered Matt Murphy’s question about a possible conflict of interest presented by having the Governor’s son, Rob Riley, represent the office of Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale in disputes with the Jefferson County Commission.
[Jefferson County Commission President Bettye Fine Collins] is looking at the Governor to be the savior of the county and resolve all these problems and here comes a knock on the door from the Sheriff and Rob Riley about a contract. What kind of position is she in? I’m not going to speak for the governor but it would cloud my decisions if I had children on the payroll of the county or an organization I was supposed to be figuring out whether they were going to go bankrupt or not. It would cloud my judgment.
Murphy and Johnson talk in a similar fashion about the Governor’s son-in-law who is a partner at Bradley Arant, a firm that – in Murphy’s words – “makes millions of dollars working with the county.”
Edit: The next-to-last paragraph has been edited for the sake of clarity.