State Republicans made a bit of what they called Internet history the other day, unveiling a Web site devoted exclusively to legislative candidates in the fall elections.

"In the past, we've printed a thick booklet on all our campaigns," said state Sen. J. Randy Forbes, of Chesapeake, the state GOP chairman, "This year, we're on the leading edge of campaigning."

The new Web site, www.gopmajority.com, is also accessible from the party's existing site (www.rpv.org).

A Full Day on the Run

Does Lt. Gov. John H. Hager (R) ever take a day off?

Look at a recent Saturday, when he had a full-blown, campaign-style swing through south central Virginia: Petersburg at 8 a.m., next a stop in Hopewell, then on to Dinwiddie County, Wakefield, Smithfield and Surry County Court House.

Hager is waging an extremely energetic campaign for the GOP nomination for governor, which he hopes to capture in 2001.

Fund-Raising Indigestion

Fairfax County lawyer William Thomas, of the land-use law firm Hazel & Thomas, invited about 20 people to his office Thursday morning for a $100-a-plate breakfast fund-raiser for Fairfax Supervisor Penelope A. Gross (D-Mason).

Gross's Republican opponent in November, former supervisor Christine R. Trapnell, criticized the event on two fronts, saying that holding it at the office of a development law firm raises questions and that direct solicitation of people who represent development interests in the county is improper.

Trapnell admits to having accepted developer money but said her circumstances are different because she's not the incumbent.

In his invitation, Thomas praised Gross, who is in her first term on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and asked for "a $100 contribution" to her reelection--an amount that Trapnell said seemed designed to avoid having to disclose the source. Under state law, candidates must identify contributors who give more than $100.

Gross defended the fund-raiser, saying people who give to her campaign understand they will not get special treatment in return.

Thomas said the $100 amount was not intended to circumvent reporting rules: "That couldn't be farther from the truth." He also said he practices little land-use law in Fairfax, though he conceded that other lawyers in his firm do considerable work there.

As of July 15, Gross was ahead in the money race, with $43,049.64 on hand to Trapnell's $37,770.52.

Public Payroll Expands

Virginia's state and local government work force increased more than 20 percent during the last decade in spite of a series of concerted efforts to shrink the public payroll, according to a new study.

The New York-based Center for the Study of the States reported a new high of 455,000 local and state workers, up from 377,500 in 1989, a growth rate that ranked Virginia 21st among 50 states.

Much of the growth was among teachers, who account for 60 percent of all local government employees.

Other data, from the University of Virginia, showed that the number of county and city employees grew to more than twice the size of the state work force, which has been stable in recent years.

U-Va. said the number of local government employees grew from fewer than 248,000 in 1989 to more than 315,000 this year, while the number of state employees grew from 136,000 to 140,000 during the same period.

Be a Low-Techie No More

Looking to turn that low-tech liberal arts degree into a high-tech, and hopefully high-paying, job? The University of Virginia can help.

Starting in September, U-Va. will offer an Information Technology Certificate at its Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church. The certificate is a seven-course, 19-credit program that introduces "concepts, terminology, business processes and computer applications [needed] to work effectively in a high-tech environment," according to a university news release.

The aim is to turn liberal arts majors into "technically savvy employees" in the fields of systems analysis, information architecture, World Wide Web design and technical writing, as well as in sales and marketing, customer service, quality assurance and administration. The accelerated program, which will take nine months to complete, is also targeted at workers looking to sharpen their skills for a better job.

An orientation session for the new program will be Aug. 18 at the university center, 7054 Haycock Rd., Falls Church. To reserve a spot, call 703-536-1146. Classes begin the week of Sept. 13.

Staff writers Jay Mathews and Marylou Tousignant and the Associated Press contributed to this report.