Worley Defends Spending

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Secretary of State Nancy Worley has ordered some employee layoffs in her department because of state budget cuts -- but she's defending the purchase of an expensive sport utility vehicle for her official use.

The state bought a $30,275 2003 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer model SUV. It's nearly three times the cost of an air-conditioned Ford Taurus the state pays for at the same Huntsville dealership where Worley bought the Expedition. The purchase was reported by The New York Times regional newspapers.

Worley says her budget was cut $258,000 this year, an amount she had to absorb by firing employees. So far she's laid off five people. She said the 19-thousand dollar difference between the Ford Expedition and a Ford Taurus wouldn't have saved anyone's job.