TUSCALOOSA - Republican Gov.-elect Bob Riley on Wednesday named his campaign director and former business lobbyist, Toby Roth, as his chief of staff.
Roth, 34, had long been considered a contender for a top job in the new administration. He is Riley's first Cabinet appointment.
"I have been impressed in everything that he has done for me over the last few months," Riley said Wednesday. "Toby is one of the most capable, dependable and talented individuals that I have had the opportunity to work with, and the people of Al abama will benefit greatly from his service to the state."
The chief of staff typically is the hub of any governor's administration, and Roth said he will be involved in the selection of people to fill other Cabinet positions.
Though relatively young, Roth has been working in Alabama's political arena for more than six Roth, Page 5B 1B years for conservative groups and candidates.
He was the vice president of advancement for the Business Council of Alabama from 2001 to 2002, where he oversaw the group's membership and endowment programs. He was the first director of Citizens for a Sound Economy, a nonprofit or ganization that promotes lower taxes and less government. He also served as BCA's manager of political affairs from 1996 to 1997 and was finance director of Harold See's 1996 campaign for the Alabama Supreme Court.
Many business groups were squarely in Riley's corner in the campaign against Gov. Don Siegelman. The BCA broke a longstanding tradition of neutrality to back Riley.
Roth has a political science degree from the University of Alabama and a law degree from the College of William & Mary in Virginia.
"He's got the background to understand government, the Legislature and all that's involved," former BCA President Bill O'Connor said. "Toby has unquestioned integrity. He's open. He's a pragmatist. He's numbers-oriented, and he's an excellent appointment."
Roth, who is white, and Riley said they were trying to make sure the Cabinet is diverse in gender and race.
"It is certainly a top consideration," Roth said.
Roth said he and Riley were negotiating a salary. Siegelman Chief of Staff Jim Buckalew makes $84,000 a year.
Riley said the entire Cabinet would be in place before his Jan. 20 inauguration.
For the Department of Human Resources, Roth said the Riley team has talked with current DHR Commissioner Bill Fuller and former Commissioner Tony Petelos, who served under Siegelman and Gov. Fob James.
Fuller said Wednesday that he would be interested in remaining at DHR to finish a long-running overhaul of the state's child welfare system.
"These are dynamic times at DHR," Fuller said.