“This is great reporting, telling us all about Pam Hill’s attempted shakedown AFTER the election.”

That headline is from a commentator at AL.com and YES, the story is being told AFTER the election.

Local talk radio personality Dale Jackson reported on his show that an anonymous source tipped him off to an incident from 2012 involving Hill and Appleton CEO Glenn Clayton. Appleton is an education company that maintains several contracts with Huntsville City Schools, providing technology and personnel services to the system.

Clayton himself then went on the show and confirmed his version of events, but said he did not know who told Jackson about it.

The incident, in a nutshell: In 2012, Hill was a teacher with Huntsville City Schools and also a representative of the Huntsville Education Association, a professional organization representing a number of Huntsville City School employees. Hill met with Clayton to express some teachers’ concerns about a new software program offered by Appleton that the school board was considering purchasing.

According to Clayton, during the meeting Hill produced her resume and asked about the possibility of getting a job with Appleton. In an email he later sent to Wardynski, Clayton paraphrased Hill’s request: “You need me Glenn. If you hire me, then you won’t have any push back from teachers in Huntsville. If you don’t hire me, you’re setting yourself up for problems and you’re going to run into a lot of push back.”

Clayton sent that email to Wardynski in April 2012, but no action was taken against Hill. After Jackson discussed Hill and Clayton’s meeting on his show last week, Hill released a statement, saying she did ask Clayton about a job but never threatened him: “The only real ethics violation to watch in Huntsville this week is the deliberate attempt by Mr. Wardynski and Mr. Clayton to damage my campaign with false allegations for their benefit.”

After Jackson asked Wardynski why he didn’t pursue an ethics violation against Hill in 2012 for allegedly leveraging her position as a teacher to gain employment at Appleton,Wardynski responded via email, confirming Clayton had contacted him.

“I felt the matter Mr. Clayton raised with you was very serious and I was prepared to take the matter to the district attorney,” Wardynski said in his statement to Jackson. “At that time, Mr. Clayton asked that I not involve him in pursuing the matter as it could harm his business. Without a witness and a complaint I had no basis to pursue the matter.”

Hill told AL.com there was nothing inappropriate about seeking employment elsewhere and that her critics were trying to twist an innocuous incident in order to damage her character in the days before the election.

“Do I think the superintendent should have become involved? No,” she said, referring to Wardynski’s note to Jackson. “But that is when we really felt we probably were going to win (the election).

“To me, that shouted, ‘desperate.'”

Wardynski’s response to Jackson prompted local political watchdog and Dale Jackson Show contributor Tom Scovill to file a complaint with the Alabama Ethics Commission over concerns that Wardynski engaged in “inappropriate electioneering.”

A complete failure by the local media.

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