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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – In theory, a bill supported by the Alabama Credit Union League is on the fast track and should run into little problem winning approval by legislators. But Will McCarty, the league’s vice president of government and public affairs, cautions events unrelated to the bill could halt its progress. The legislation is aimed at creating the position of assistant administrator at the Alabama Credit Union Administration and boosting the pay of top ACUA officials to make it more comparable to salaries at the state banking department. The pay gap is considerable, McCarty says – “tens of thousands of dollars.” Such top positions aren’t covered by civil service protection and are open to change any time a new governor takes office. So someone considered for those jobs must look at them as temporary. The salary has to be attractive enough to take the risk. The bill will give the ACUA board authority to set the salary range of the administrator, not to exceed the salary range of the bank superintendent. The actual salary would be set within that range by the governor. The bill also calls for creating the position of assistant administrator, who would have authority if the administrator resigns or is absent for some period of time. “That is very important to us,” McCarty says. “The administrative position is appointed. Were there to be a vacancy or a prolonged absence, state-charted credit unions need to know there is somebody with authority to make decisions they can depend on to have legal effect.” The banking department, he notes, has that structure. The bill has been approved by the House and Senate banking and insurance committees. The league is working with the House rules committee to move the bill from the regular order calendar, which lists hundreds of bills, to the special order calendar, in effect speeding consideration. However, that’s where the uncertainty looms. The state is enjoying a surplus, and legislators are wrestling with how that money should be spent. It’s an election year, and lawmakers want to score points with their constituents. Few want to give ground on key bills seen as important to voters. There’s also the possibility legislators – anxious to spend time campaigning in their home districts – may cut short their session. “We always stand the risk of getting delayed by something that doesn’t really relate to us. A very good bill can be slowed down by something that has nothing to do with the merits or structure of the bill itself. But that’s just part of the process,” McCarty says. “If your bill is in line to be considered behind something where a fights lasts for two days, you can see where that puts you.” Overall, he’s optimistic. “The bill itself is seen as noncontroversial,” he points out. “It was approved by both committees unanimously, with only a few questions about how the bill would work.” -

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