Tom Surtees

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Tom Surtees
Tom surtees.jpg
Alabama Commissioner of Labor
In office
October 2012 - present
Years in position 2
PredecessorJim Bennett
Base salary$139,259
Elections and appointments
Appointed byGovernor Robert Bentley
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Alabama Director of Industrial Relations
Office website
Tom Surtees is the current Alabama Commissioner of Labor. He was appointed to the position on October 1, 2012, upon the merger of the Department of Labor and the Department of Industrial Relations, for which he previously served as Director.[1] The merger edged out long time officeholder Jim Bennett, who had served as state labor commissioner since his initial appointment in 2003.[2]

A retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, Surtees was the state's Commissioner of Revenue for over three years before joining the Department of Industrial Relations. He is a former member of the Jefferson County Board of Education and the Pleasant Grove City Council.[3]

Besides his public service, Surtees has worked in the private sector as a corporate V.P. and employee relations manager for firms in Birmingham, Alabama.

In his capacity as commissioner, Surtees is authorized to lead the Department of Labor in resolving labor disputes, enforcing state labor laws, promoting cooperation between labor and business leaders and coordinating with federal officials from the U.S. Department of Labor, among other responsibilities. In Alabama, the commissioner serves at the pleasure of the sitting governor[4] and is not subject to any specific term limits.


Surtees holds both a bachelor's and Master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, as well as a diploma from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Surtees served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 27 years, and retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Political career

Alabama Labor Commissioner (2012-present)

Surtees was the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director when a department merger resulted in his assumption of the post of Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Labor on October 1, 2012. The merger edged out long term state labor commissioner Jim Bennett[2], who was originally appointed in 2003 by Governor Bob Riley and kept on by current Governor Robert Bentley.[5]



Surtees was named state labor commissioner on October 1, 2012 by Gov. Bentley.[2]


Surtees is married to the former Celia Woods. He has two children and three grandchildren.[3]

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Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Bennett
Alabama Commissioner of Labor
Succeeded by