MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees is stepping down after a decade of leading major state agencies for two governors.
It's rare for someone to serve in key positions in two administrations. Surtees was hired as state revenue commissioner in 2004 by Gov. Bob Riley. Then he moved to the Department of Industrial Relations in 2007. He remained in the post when Gov. Robert Bentley took office in 2011, and he became labor commissioner when the departments of Industrial Relations and Labor were merged under Bentley.
The 64-year-old commissioner says he has loved his job because it makes a difference in people's lives. That was especially true during the recession. Surtees says his agency paid $29 million in unemployment compensation benefits to 115,000 Alabamians during the worst week of the recession.