Nation: Too Much Trust

Her eye was on the till

She was a simple farmer's daughter, one of ten children, and never went to college. But Melba Till Allen had big ambitions. She taught herself accounting and, after 13 years as a bookkeeper, was elected state auditor of Alabama in 1966. Voters were charmed by her beehive hairdo, ultrafeminine ways and strong Baptist principles. In office, she went so ferociously after state employees who padded their expense accounts and otherwise wasted public funds that she became known as "Melba Watching-the-Till Allen." She was enthusiastically re-elected in 1970 and four years later easily won election as state...

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