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Industrial relations director retires

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Phyllis Kennedy is retiring as director of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations and Tom Surtees, the current head of the state revenue agency, will replace her, Gov. Bob Riley announced Tuesday.

Riley said Cynthia Underwood, the assistant revenue commissioner, will become acting commissioner of the revenue department during the transition.

The changes are effective Sept. 15.

Kennedy, 67, who was state director of the National Federation of Independent Business when tapped to run industrial relations in 2003, has cut the state agency's work force by more than 300 employees while expanding the role of technology to improve services, Riley said in a statement.

"Her leadership will be greatly missed, but we are fortunate that Tom Surtees has agreed to become our new director of industrial relations," the governor said.

Surtees, 57, had a background in personnel work when he was named Riley's revenue chief in February 2004. He was vice president of human resources for the Citation Corp. before joining Riley's Cabinet.

He is a former president of the Jefferson County Board of Education.

"Before he joined our administration, Tom had almost 30 years in the private sector in human resources management, where he handled many of the same issues he will face at DIR: workers compensation, unemployment compensation and work force development," Riley said.

He said Underwood, a career official at the revenue department, is both a certified public accountant and an attorney and "will serve the department, its employees and its customers well during this transition."

Riley said Don Fisher is staying on as assistant director of industrial relations and will assist Surtees.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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