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Bentley’s chief of staff resigns, capping four decade career as major player in Alabama politics

Seth Hammett, Chief of Staff for Governor Robert Bentley, talks to a group of PowerSouth Management Trainees during a visit with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley at the Capitol in Montgomery, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. (Photo: Governor's Office, Jamie Martin)
Seth Hammett, Chief of Staff for Governor Robert Bentley, talks to a group of PowerSouth Management Trainees during a visit with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley at the Capitol in Montgomery, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. (Photo: Governor’s Office, Jamie Martin)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Governor Robert Bentley’s chief of staff Seth Hammett, the administration’s top staffer, announced his resignation Thursday after just over 16 months on the job.

The governor announced a new “leadership management team” that will take over responsibility of running the core operations of his office. The team will be co-led by Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration Blake Hardwich and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Jon Barganier. Additionally, Barganier will serve as the primary point of contact for the Governor’s Office.

“Each member of our senior executive staff plays an important role in helping me serve the people of this state,” Bentley said in a statement. “Our team brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as a heart for the people of we serve, to the Governor’s Office. The leadership team will work to strengthen our efforts to make Alabama stronger and better for all Alabamians.”

Hammett’s resignation caps off a roughly four decades long career as one of Alabama’s most significant public figures.

Hammett, a Democrat from Andalusia, was first elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1978. In 1998 he was elected Speaker of the House, a lofty perch from which he oversaw Alabama’s legislative branch for the next twelve years.

Hammett retired from the legislature in 2010, but was brought into the newly installed Bentley administration the following year as interim director of the Alabama Development Office. He served in that capacity for six months on “executive loan” from PowerSouth, an electricity generation and transmission cooperative where he still holds the title of Vice President of Business Development. A similar arrangement was set up when he returned to the Bentley administration as interim chief of staff in May of 2014.

“I appreciate Seth Hammett’s service as Chief of Staff, and his dedication to serve in my administration,” Governor Bentley said. “We made great strides in economic development and workforce training during the 2015 Regular Session, and I appreciate Seth’s guidance and experience in both fields.”

Hammett will now return to his post at PowerSouth full time.

“I want to thank Governor Bentley for his trust in me and the opportunity to serve as his Chief of Staff over the last year,” he said. “Under his leadership and direction, we have made many improvements the way state government operates and have tackled many difficult issues together. It has been a richly rewarding experience to serve in this capacity and once again, work for the people of this state.”


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