The Associated Press reports that the decision stems
from an ongoing feud between the Board and the Alabama
State Employees Association (ASEA). Under state law, the
employee association recommends a deferred compensation
plan, and the Personnel Board approves it. The latest plan
was approved by the Personnel Board in 1994 at ASEA’s
Board members say they were unaware the 1994 agreement provided for Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, to make large payments to ASEA. The Association’s tax returns show those payments have reached almost $6 million since 2002, Board attorney Alice Ann Byrne said, according to the AP.
Spokesperson Erica Lewis said Nationwide feels caught in
the middle of the dispute. Nationwide has cited a court
order as its reason for declining to give documents to the
Two state employees are suing ASEA and Nationwide over the plan, complaining it is a bad deal for state workers. The State Personnel Board has asked to intervene on the side of the employees. The judge handling that suit has issued a protective order that keeps financial records from becoming public, the AP said.
In addition, ASEA is suing Personnel Board members, accusing them of violating the association’s contractual rights and conspiring to damage the organization.
The cancellation of the deferred compensation plan contract will take effect in six months, and Board members said they will have another deferred compensation plan in place when the contract ends.
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