ADEM Director Up for Review of His Job Performance Amid Renewed Complaints

Alabama Department of Environmental Management Director Lance LeFleur, who survived scathing attacks from environmental groups on his job performance last year, faces renewed efforts to remove him from office this year.

The department’s overseeing body, the Alabama Environmental Management Commission, announced this week that it is seeking public comment on LeFleur’s record as head of the state’s environmental regulatory department for his annual job review.

The public notice posted by Thomas P. Walters, personnel committee chair for the Alabama Environmental Management Commission, solicits comments by 5 p.m. July 31.

Emailed comments on the director’s performance between Oct. 20, 2018, and July 31, 2019, should be addressed to aemc@adem.alabama.gov with “ADEM Director Job Performance Evaluation” included in the subject line. Postal mails should be sent to Alabama Environmental Management Commission, ATTN: Personnel Committee, P.O. Box 301463, Montgomery, AL 36130-1463.

Walters said the comments contributed “will aid the committee in this job performance evaluation.”

Negative comments about LeFleur’s job record last year centered on his handling of industrial pollution in north Birmingham and whether the Environmental Protection Agency’s 35th Avenue Superfund site should be expanded. The issues were prominent in the federal bribery trial in which top officials of Drummond Coal, the owner of ABC Coke in Tarrant, and the law firm Balch and Bingham were found guilty. The two were charged with bribery of state Rep. Oliver Robinson, who pleaded guilty to the federal charges and testified against the two, who are out on appeal. Robinson was sentenced in September to 33 months and is incarcerated.

The public corruption trial also resulted in the indictment on state ethics charges of an Environmental Protection Agency regional director and LeFleur predecessor, and a former environmental management commissioner. The two entered not guilty pleas and await a trial date.

LeFleur successfully defended his handling of that and other issues to the environmental commission, which complimented him on his performance for the year. His salary was placed at $164,419, at the top of the pay scale for his job.

Criticism of LeFleur’s department this year has included its handling of industrial pollution discharges that have resulted in large fish kills on the Mulberry Fork as well as water quality issues on the Tennessee River near Decatur.