- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The city of Montgomery can hire a state senator for $30,000 to help with youth activities planned for the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march, the Alabama Ethics Commission said Wednesday.

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange had asked the commission for advice concerning a contract with Democratic Sen. Quinton Ross of Montgomery. The commission approved it, but said Ross should not use state resources under his control to help him do the job.

The six-month contract calls for $25,000 in payments to Ross, plus he could receive an additional $5,000 for meeting the contract’s benchmarks, said Anita Archie, the mayor’s chief of staff.

The city is planning activities to commemorate the 1965 march that led to enactment of the Voting Rights Act, and it wants to have events for students when they are out of school March 23-27 for spring break, Archie said.

“If we show them the sacrifices that were made and why they did it, then hopefully we are bringing up the next generation of leaders,” she said.

She expects about 400 high school students to participate in the activities, including a recreation of the last leg of the 50-mile march.

She said Ross has the talents to bring people together for the celebration. He’s a former Montgomery high school principal, knows many people who were involved in the 1965 march and is ingrained in the leadership of Montgomery, she said.

Ross said in a written statement that he is honored to help the city “tell the story of the courageous men and women whose heroic efforts inspired me to dedicate my life to serving the public.”

In the Ethics Commission’s opinion, it noted that the city approached Ross rather than Ross contacting the city about work.


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