State Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, who sponsored bills in the Senate that will give a one-time bonus to retired state employees and teachers this year, has been named the 2018 Legislator of the Year by the Alabama State Employees Association, the group announced Tuesday.
Dial, one of the senior most lawmakers in Montgomery who has served in the Alabama Senate since 1983, is leaving his post in the Legislature’s upper chamber to run for agriculture commissioner.
Alabama State Employees Association Director Mac McArthur said Tuesday that Dial has a history of fighting for state employees in the Senate.
“For over three decades, Gerald Dial has been at the forefront of fighting to protect state employees pay and benefits,” McArthur said. “His unwavering leadership on our ‘bread and butter’ issues cannot be overstated. It is an honor to name Senator Dial as ASEA’s 2018 Legislator of the Year.”
During Dial’s last legislative session this year, he supported Gov. Kay Ivey’s initiative to give state employees and teachers a 3 percent cost-of-living raise, which was ultimately approved.
Dial also sponsored the one-time bonus for retired state employees and legislators. He initially pushed for a $400 bonus, but later negotiated a $1-per-month-of-service bonus when the first draft of the legislation looked as if it would stall.
Dial said the negotiation would reward long-serving state employees while still giving retirees with less time a bonus of their own.
“The most important asset any entity has is its employees, and that’s true for businesses, non-profits, and government agencies,” Dial said. “State government serves the public best when agencies are able to hire and retain quality people to work as teachers, state troopers, and corrections officers.”
As Dial moves on to a new period of public service, he implored lawmakers to continue the fight for state employees.
“It is an honor to be named Legislator of the Year. We should demand and expect the best of public employees, and reward and appreciate those who are working hard to serve Alabama,” Dial said.