Freeze on Merit Raises Challenged in Suit

Montgomery, AL – Governor Riley's freeze on state employees' merit pay is being challenged in an Alabama State Employees Association lawsuit that's asking a court to reinstate pay raises. The suit was filed Friday against Riley and state Finance Director Jim Main. The Employees Association claims that Riley and Main are prohibited by state law from freezing merit raises. The freeze went into effect in April of last year in response to the state's financial crisis. But the suit says under last year's General Fund Appropriation Act that the merit raises were set to be reinstated October first of this year. The employees group says Riley and Main acted in violation of the act by directing the head of each department to freeze the merit raises until next April. Riley spokesperson Jeff Emerson says the claims are not true. Emerson says several departments issued merit raises on October first. He also says directors of each agency have discretion on granting those raises.