Ala. Ag. Department May Cut Salaries 7.5 Percent

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- State Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan is warning his 300 employees that across-the-board pay cuts are a possibility because of anticipated budget reductions.

Deputy Commissioner Brett Hall said McMillan met with employees Friday to tell them that he expects the governor to order across-the-board reductions in this year's General Fund budget. Hall said McMillan would like to get some financial help for the Agriculture Department, but if that doesn't happen, he would prefer pay cuts to layoffs. The pay cuts could be up to 7.5 percent.

Hall said the department has eliminated 100 jobs in the last year and any further layoffs would impact essential services, including food safety inspections and poultry lab work that's required by the federal government for Alabama's chicken farmers.

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