You may remember the hot water ARC Terminals was in when it became known to the city that they were storing acid illegally. They were being hounded not only by the city, but by us, the local media. At the time, they did not have a public relations official that could talk to the media. So, in desperation, they reached out to State Representative Randy Davis.
Davis had worked before in public relations with Mobile and Baldwin County schools. As we understand it, Davis told them that he couldn’t entertain any offer until he checked with the state Ethics Commission.
Because Davis is in the state legislature, it’s a conflict of interest if he works for a company who employs a lobbyist. Here is a list of all companies in Alabama that employ a lobbyist. Here is Arc Terminals on the fourth page.
It took several months, but the Ethics Commission finally gave their opinion. It reads in part–
“A member of the Alabama Legislature may accept employment… as long as the offer is made based on reasons unrelated to his public service as a public official; he may not, however, use his position as a member of the Legislature to benefit himself or his employer.”
However, the opinion came too late, and ARC went ahead and employed Strategy Public Relations.
In a statement released by ARC, they say:
“In 2015 while searching for a spokesperson, Mr. Davis’ was repeatedly recommended based on his past experience as the chief spokesperson for the local county school system. Before exploring any specific opportunities, both Arc and Mr. Davis followed both the spirit and letter of the law by requesting a formal opinion from the Ethics Commission. Randy Davis is not currently employed by Arc terminals, nor has he been at any time in the past. Our joint insistence on pre-clearing this matter before the ethics commission was intended to insure transparency and promote integrity.”
We contacted Mr. Davis who said he was out of state and unavailable for comment.