Governor doesn#039;t mind stepping up to the plate

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Gov. Bob Riley obviously is a governor who will lead by example.

Tuesday, he announced that was cutting his own pay by 5 percent in a demonstration of his desire to make state government &uot;more efficient, effective and accountable.&uot;

While saving Alabama taxpayers a touch more than $5,000 a year won't have a great impact on the state's looming $500 million budget crisis, it does send a strong, clear signal that Riley is serious about balancing the budget.

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It's refreshing for a governor to demonstrate such a bull-by-the-horns technique, and the bull in this case may very well be the Alabama State Employees Association, the lobby for state workers.

Riley's actions came after ASEA launched a campaign to challenge the governor not to jeopardize benefits for state employees.

Nonetheless, the governor has rightly directed his state agency directors to reduce personnel costs by 5 percent for the fourth quarter of the current fiscal year. He's directed the agencies to accomplish this without layoffs.

Riley is grappling with what some lawmakers describe as Alabama's worst financial crises ever, and he's making significant headway.

Tuesday's announcement merely confirms Riley's commitment to meeting his constitutionally required fiscal duties. We commend him for his attitude.