- Associated Press - Saturday, March 18, 2017

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Community College System has appointed a permanent chancellor.

Jimmy Baker will assume the position on April 1, the Opelika-Auburn News (https://bit.ly/2nwhswS ) reported. He became the acting chancellor last year when Chancellor Mark Heinrich took a medical leave of absence.

Heinrich submitted his resignation last month because of his health issues.

Seven applications were reviewed for the chancellor position.

Trustee Milton Davis told the board during a meeting Wednesday that the committee recommended and unanimously approved Baker for the position.

“Upon review of the applicants resumes the personnel committee determined that only one candidate exemplified the leadership and the experience that is required to lead our institution, which is comprised of 26 institutions and the Alabama Technology Network,” Davis said. “The candidate that we selected and recommend is Mr. Jimmy Baker.”

Baker served as Heinrich’s chief of staff before he was elevated to acting chancellor six months ago. He was a lobbyist for the two-year college system where he was paid $384,000 by Calhoun and Enterprise community colleges in 2014 and 2015.

He was an associate at Birmingham-based law firm Hand Arendall. The system has spent more than $3.5 million in recent years for unspecified legal professional services.

Gov. Fob James appointed Baker as state finance director in 1995, according to a press release from the Alabama Community College System.

“Although it has been somewhat of a sad time in receiving the retirement notification from Chancellor Heinrich, I can’t believe how fortunate our board and our system has been that Jimmy Baker has been there for us,” said Al Thompson, board of trustees’ vice president. “…His work has been exemplary. It’s been excellent, and I have no criticism whatsoever. I probably shouldn’t say that, but it’s just been outstanding. The communication with the board has been above and beyond. The transparency has been above and beyond.”

Baker thanked the board of trustees for its confidence in him.


Information from: Opelika-Auburn News, https://www.oanow.com/

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