- Associated Press - Thursday, May 4, 2017

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Jim Byard, the head of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, is leaving as Gov. Kay Ivey names her own cabinet members, the governor’s office confirmed Thursday.

Ivey spokeswoman Eileen Jones said the governor has identified a new director of ADECA and will announce the appointment soon.

Ivey had served as lieutenant governor for six years before she became governor when her predecessor, Robert Bentley, resigned April 10.

Byard in a statement said he wished Ivey and her administration “all the best.”

“It has been an honor to serve as ADECA Director for the last six years. As the agency’s longest serving director, I am proud of the efforts ADECA has made to create jobs, improve infrastructure across Alabama and strengthen the quality of life for those we serve,” the statement said.

Byard is the former mayor of Prattville.

Bentley resigned last month amid a push to impeach him in the Alabama Legislature in the fallout of an alleged affair with an aide. Bentley also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor campaign finance violations to end a state investigation.

Ivey has been slowly replacing Bentley’s cabinet members with her own appointments.

Jones said Byard was assisting with the transition.

Ivey has announced she is replacing the head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. She also dismissed Jon Mason, the husband of the aide at the center of Bentley scandal. Mason headed the agency that coordinated faith-based and volunteer services.

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