Board Member Advocates



Four representatives on the Retirement Systems of Alabama ERS Board of Control, two on the State Employees’ Health Insurance Board (SEIB) and one on the Local Government Health Insurance Board (LGHIB) are all ARSEA/APEAL members.  We believe that protecting the financial security and fiscal future of the Retirement Systems of Alabama is vital, now and in the future.

RSA ERS Board of Control

James Fibbe, Retired Local Employee Position and Vice Chair

James (Jim) Fibbe began his 38-year public service career as an assistant to the city engineer in Huntsville before moving to Mobile as an engineer for the County Health Department. In 1989, Mr. Fibbe began work with the Mobile Water/Sewer System, retiring as Executive Director in 1999. Fibbe has served as president of the Lions Club of Mobile, Chairman of the Lions/USA Eye Research Institute, board member of the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame, and President and board member of ARSEA/APEAL.

“As the retired director of the Mobile Water and Sewer System, my experience working with multi-million-dollar budgets and matters of high finance has served me well on the ERS Board, especially during my tenure as Chairman of the ERS Investment Committee. You can be sure that I always put the interests of local government retirees and employees first because I understand the importance of our retirement benefits.  I will continue doing everything in my power to safeguard and strengthen RSA.”

Norris Green, Retired State Employee Position

Norris Green retired as the director of the Legislative Fiscal Office in 2015 with 39 years of service with the agency.  Green analyzed all legislation related to the Retirement Systems of Alabama, and his vast knowledge and experience in dealing with the multi-billion-dollar Education Trust Fund and General Fund budgets has served him well as a member of the board that oversees the $12 billion Employees’ Retirement System. 

“As a retired state employee that relies on my RSA benefit, I fully understand the benefits we earned through our careers must be protected at all costs.  Through my position on the ARSEA/APEAL board of directors, I have been able to speak with retirees statewide and feel I understand the concerns that many of us share. I am using my knowledge of RSA and working experience with multi-billion-dollar budgets to guide me in making decisions to help keep our pension system strong.  I hope to continue to bring a spirit of cooperation to the ERS board and am honored to serve as your representative.”

Wendy Hester, Active State Employee Position 1

Wendy Hester is the Assistant Director and Chief Financial Officer of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.  She served previously as the Chief Audit Executive with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for over 26 years.  She has a degree in Business Administration from Auburn University and holds several certifications to include: Forensic Accounting, Fraud Examination, and Internal Audits.  She began her career with the State of Alabama at the Alabama Medicaid Agency performing provider audits and cost report analysis.  She has been an APEAL member since 2019.

David Harer, Active Local Employee Position 1

David Harer has been deeply involved in our association’s continuing efforts to protect the Retirement Systems of Alabama.  He has also worked closely with our staff in lobbying efforts to add more local government representation on the ERS board and to provide cities, counties, and public boards with the option of improving the Tier II benefits offered to employees.  Recently, he has headed up lobbying efforts to pass PTSD legislation for first responders.  Employed as a firefighter for the City of Huntsville, Harer serves as president of the Professional Firefighters of Alabama. He has been an APEAL member since 2017.

Lisa Statum, Active Local Employee Position 2 

Lisa E. Statum is a Work Management Analyst with Huntsville Utilities.  She is an experienced key account representative with over seventeen years of service.  She has assisted commercial and industrial customers of Huntsville Utilities with their electric, gas and water accounts and works as a liaison between their customers and the Tennessee Valley Authority to help facility and maintenance managers operate more efficiently.  She is an ambassador with the Huntsville/Madison Chamber, has been a Christmas Charities volunteer and has worked on the ramp building team for the Care Assurance System of the Aging and Homebound along with several other charitable programs in the Madison County area.  He has been a member of ARSEA/APEAL since 2017 and was elected to the ERS Board of Control in 2019


Carolyn Middleton Bio

Carolyn S. Middleton retired in May 2013 as State Budget Officer of Alabama working for the State Department of Finance.  She was Chairman of the First Readings Committee for Governors Bentley and Riley reviewing all legislation introduced and she had been assigned the responsibility of managing the State Fiscal Stabilization Stimulus Funds awarded to the Governor.  She has her Bachelor and Master degrees from Auburn University Montgomery and is a Certified Public Manager.  She continued to teach for the Certified Public Manager Program and the Governmental Accounting and Auditor Training Program through the Alabama Training Institute. Carolyn is a Board member of the American Society of Certified Public Managers, as well as serving on the ARSEA/APEAL Board of Directors, Auburn University Montgomery Alumni Association, and the American Academy of Certified Public Managers. 

Robert Pickett Bio

Robert Pickett was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the State Highway Department of Transportation for more than two decades, preparing and reviewing budgets of several hundred million dollars as well as billions of Federal dollars.  Reporting to the transportation director, he oversaw a complex fiscal system from 1972 to 1998 requiring both State of Alabama and Federal Government compliance.  He is well versed in professional fiscal procedures and cost analysis for health coverage funding and has protected the integrity of an efficient State Health Insurance Program.  He has served the best interests of the state retirees, to protect and safeguard the state health coverage program during his 15 years on the ARSEA/APEAL Board of Directors 


Mike Gillespie, Chairman

A native of Huntsville, Mike Gillespie graduated from the University of Alabama and was elected as Chairman of the Madison County Commission in 1980 and served 32 years. For many years, he held seats on the boards of the National Association of Counties and the Association of County Commissions of Alabama. Gillespie has earned several notable awards, including the Huntsville Madison County Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award, the Martin Luther King Community Unity Award, and the National Conference for Community and Justice Award. In 2017, he was elected chairman of ARSEA/APEAL’s FOREPAC Board.  Having served a few years on the Local Government Health Insurance Board (LGHIB), he was appointed on September 1, 2020 to serve as chair.

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