By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
The magic number is 5.2 for Gov. Robert Bentley.
When unemployment reaches that mark, the Governor will start to earn his salary – a little more than $120,000 per year. For nearly six full years now, after promising not to take a salary until the state was at “full employment again,” Bentley hasn’t earned a dime of that money.
In September, he was close, as the State’s official unemployment dipped to 5.4 percent – it’s lowest rate since May 2008. That was a drastic drop from the 11 percent rate Bentley inherited when he took office in January 2011. But it is still well above the national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent.
“Once we reach that point (5.2), the Governor will seriously consider taking a salary,” Bentley spokeswoman Yasamie August said.
He’ll have to wait at least another month.
Official unemployment figures released last week for the state show the rate ticked back up, coming in at 5.7 percent.
That means Bentley’s pay will instead continue to go into the “Governor’s General Office Fund,” according to August. That fund, she said, pays for “general office expenses.”
When asked for more specifics, August said the fund pays for a variety of things, such as various supplies.
“… the miscellaneous office expenses are just that,” August wrote in an email. “For an example, one month the funds could be used for office supplies, but the next month it (could) be used for small projects taking place in any one of the offices that all make up the Office of the Governor.”
August also said that if the rate drops to 5.2 percent before Bentley leaves office in two years, the Governor will not seek to recoup back pay.