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Hartselle Enquirer

Riley takes a small cut in pay

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–It will scarely make a dent in a multi-million dollar financial shortfall, but Gov. Bob Riley has announced he will take a 5 percent pay cut as a way of showing his sympathy for state employees who have been told there will be no pay raise for them this year.
If you are interested, his decision will save the state's General Fund $5,072…which is 5 percent of his salary of $10l,433-a-year.
His decision came in the wake of a challenge from Mac McArthur, the head of the Alabama State Employees Association (ASEA). In fact, ASEA ran a TV commercial critical of Riley for his no-pay-raise decision for state workers. McArthur, who aspires to make the ASEA as politically powerful as the Alabama Education Association (AEA), also announced he was taking a 5 percent pay cut as well.
His salary reduction will save the employee union more than Riley's cut will save the General Fund–McArthur makes $150,000-a-year.
One of the largest expenditures challenged by state auditers was for a Christmas vacation trip to the Virgin Islands by the Siegelman family in 1999. The state had picked up that tab of about $4,000 according to the report.
The state agreed to buy the building with the understanding that the firm would upgrade and create more jobs at a nearby plant. It never happened. In fact that plant may soon close as well.
While Nabers called the acquisition "senseless", a spokesman for Siegelman said it was done to save jobs.
In 1958 John Patterson and George Wallace were locked in a run-off for governor when I broke the story that Patterson's campaign was being supported by Shelton, who was then the Imperial Wizard of the United Ku Klux Klan, the most powerful KKK group in the nation.
I was a political writer for The Montgomery Advertiser at the time and we ran on the front page a copy of a letter from Patterson thanking Shelton for his support. My boss, Editor Grover C. Hall, was convinced this revelation would turn the election around and lead to a Wallace victory, who the Advertiser had editorially endorsed. It didn't.
In fact, I think the story actually gave impetus to the Patterson campaign. In those troubling years, the voters were looking for the candidate who was strongest on preserving segregation.
With the demise of the KKK in later years, Shelton faded from the limelight. He was 73 when he died last week.
Chris Sherlock was State Highway Director during the Dixon Administration (1939-42) and waged a strong but unsuccessful campaign for governor in 1942, running third behind eventual winner Chauncey Sparks and runner-up James E. (Big Jim) Folsom.
The elder Sherlock later founded a successful engineering and architectural firm in Montgomery.

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