State Worker Numbers Decrease

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The number of state workers in Alabama has declined both years of Gov. Bob Riley's administration.

Now for the first time, the average state salary has dropped. In fiscal 2004, the average annual salary for state workers was $34, 581 dollars -- down from $34, 612 the year before.

State workers haven't received any merit or cost-of-living
raises in two years, and many of the state employees who retired
last year were at or near the top of the pay ranges for their jobs.
The people hired to replace them often began at lower salaries.

In Riley's "State of the State" speech Tuesday night, the
governor talked proudly about the changes during his

Annual reports compiled by the state Personnel Department show
the state had 34-thousand-506 employees at the end of fiscal 2002,
which was the last full year in Gov. Don Siegelman's
administration. By the end of fiscal 2003, the number had dropped
to 34-thousand-414, and then it fell again to 33-thousand-191 at
the end of fiscal 2004.

That's the lowest number since the state had 32-thousand-155 in
fiscal 2000.

State Personnel Director Tommy Flowers says the decline is due
to many state agencies coping with budget cuts and the Department
of Mental Health and Mental Retardation consolidating regional
centers as part of its shift to community-based treatment programs,
such as group homes.

The numbers collected by the Personnel Department include all
major state departments, such as transportation, corrections and
health, but they don't include judicial, legislative or education