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This week on WBHM we're exploring the culture of corruption in Alabama. Over the last several years, Birmingham and Jefferson County have experienced a tsunami of political corruption. From the HealthSouth accounting scandal to the convictions of several former county commissioners. And, of course, next month Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford goes on trial in a 101-count federal bribery and conspiracy case. Why does corruption seem to be such a problem in Alabama? What's being done to address it? Friday (9/25) at noon on WBHM we discuss all this and more during On The Line: Alabama Corruption - What's the Deal?

Join the conversation by calling 1-800-444-9246 during the program or emailing your comment or question to news@wbhm.org.

Jim Sumner is the Director of the Alabama Ethics Commission. He was appointed to the position by the Commission in April, 1997. He holds an additional appointment as a Deputy Attorney General. Before assuming this position Sumner was Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for External Affairs of the University of Alabama System. At that time, the System had over 43,000 students, 18,500 employees and an annual budget exceeding $1.35 billion.

Earlier positions include Vice President/Legislative Affairs for the Alabama Hospital Association, Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff to the Lieutenant Governor (1983-1987), and Corporate Secretary and in-house counsel of Royal Cup, Inc. of Birmingham, the largest coffee roaster in the South.

Larry Harper manages the graduate programs at the Brock School of Business at Samford University and teaches courses in managerial values and international business. He joined Samford University in 1991 when the Brock School of Business founded the Global Utilities Institute and appointed him as its Director. Under his direction the Institute has undertaken numerous training and management development projects worldwide. He has trained managers and provided consulting services to companies in Asia, Europe, Africa and North America.

Prior to Samford, Harper worked as a Senior Manager in Ernst & Young's Washington Utility Group. He also served as a Management Board Member and Chief Financial Officer at Eskom, South Africa which is among the world's largest electric utilities.

John J. Sloan, III is currently Chairperson of the Department of Justice Sciences at UAB, where he is also an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Sociology. Born and raised in Detroit, he earned a B.S. and M.S. in Criminal Justice from Eastern Michigan University and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Purdue University, where he was recipient of a U.S. Department of Justice Dissertation Fellowship that funded his research on sentencing practices in Michigan. He joined the UAB faculty in 1988.

The author or co-author of over 100 scholarly articles, chapters, reports, and professional presentations, Dr. Sloan's research has been funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, with which he has served as a consultant and by various state and local agencies in Alabama. His most recent work (co-edited with Bonnie S. Fisher) is Campus Crime: Legal, Social, and Policy Perspectives (2nd edition), published by Charles C. Thomas.

More | Corruption in Alabama: State Ethics Commission

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More | Corruption in Alabama: Impact Alabama

~ Sept 25, 2009