Politics & Government

Labor secretary to retire

FRANKFORT — Kentucky Secretary of Labor J.R. Gray has decided to step down as head of the state's labor cabinet. Gov. Steve Beshear has appointed Labor Deputy Secretary Mark Brown as acting secretary of the cabinet starting Dec. 1. Brown is a former state representative and a member of a plumbers and pipe fitters union.

Gray, who also served in the state House of Representatives, was the first person to head the agency after Beshear decided to restore it to cabinet-level status. Gray's retirement is effective Nov. 30.

Gray was appointed to the job in December 2007. He makes $137,865 a year, according to state records.

Gray, in a written statement, said he wanted to return to Benton to spend more time with his family. Gray served 26 years in the state legislature and has served in various leadership capacities in organized labor.

Brown, who served for 14 years as a state representative, also was the Meade County judge executive from 1998 to 2002.

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet oversees workplace safety for Kentucky businesses.