• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 20s

Salary bill moves out of Senate Finance Committee

By Rhonda McBride 10:02 PM January 31, 2014

If a measure to block pay increases doesn't pass, raises for the governor and his top staffers will automatically take effect

JUNEAU - Although an independent salary review board has recommended raises for the governor and his top staffers, there’s a bill moving through the legislature to block those pay raises.

If the measure doesn’t pass, the raises will automatically take effect.

Gov. Sean Parnell already said he doesn’t want a pay raise and asked lawmakers to intervene.

With looming budget cuts, he said, getting a pay raise would send the wrong message.

The Senate Finance Committee took up the bill Friday morning and debated the recommendations made by the State Officers Compensation Commission.

Although Parnell has declined a salary increase, he does want his department heads to get a pay raise — to prevent private industry from luring them away, he said.

Commissioners currently earn about $145,000 a year. If the increases take effect, that number will go up to about $150,000 at the end of two years.

Sen. Pete Kelly, (R) Fairbanks, is co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. He objects to the salary increases, except in certain cases. He believes the attorney general and the Department of Natural Resources commissioner are two positions that should pay more.

“We can’t lose those people because of salary, and I know we have in the past,” Kelly said. “When they’re negotiating huge deals for us, we’ve got to have the A team here.”

Sen. Anna Fairclough, (R) Eagle River, said she doesn’t support the pay increases either, but said the pay scale for the state’s top positions don’t always make sense.

“I do think it’s inherently wrong when a deputy commissioner is making more than a commissioner,” Fairclough said.

The salary commission’s report said 13 of 23 deputy commissioners earn more than their bosses.

The governor currently makes about $145,000, which is much lower than some of the state’s most highly paid positions.

State psychiatrists and other medical professionals, as well as investment officers are paid more than $200,000, while some attorneys earn about $155,000.

Consider the case of former Revenue Commissioner Bryan Butcher, whose salary jumped from $136,000 to $250,000, after he left his job as commissioner to become director of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.

Democrats were the first to attempt to block the pay increases after the news the state now faces a $2 billion budget deficit.

“If the governor says we have no money for kids, no money for teachers, and he’s going to lay upwards of now a 1,000 teachers in the last four years, I guess we don’t have money for his commissioners,” said Rep. Les Gara, an Anchorage Democrat and member of the House Finance Committee.

Senate Finance Committee members voted unanimously to do away with the pay raises. They moved Senate Bill 125 out of committee, where it now goes to the Senate floor for a full debate.

Latest Stories

  • News

    UPDATE: MEA restores power to all but 835 customers

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 25, 22:35

    Last updated at 12:15 a.m. on Thursday, May 26 The Matanuska Electric Association reported late Wednesday night that all but 835 customers had power restored after a vehicle crash knocked down a utility pole. “Everyone is back on except those affected by a damaged feeder,” the company said on its Twitter account. The company stated […]

  • Crime

    Shooting at South Anchorage gas station leaves 1 dead

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 25, 21:25

    Last updated at 10:58 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25 The Anchorage Police Department says someone was killed in a shooting at a Holiday gas station on Abbott Road Wednesday night. The shooting was reported around 9 p.m., according to a statement from police. When police arrived at the scene, they found a person dead from […]

  • News

    Kittens in need of foster families

    by Bonney Bowman on May 25, 20:29

    Anchorage Animal Care and Control (AACC) says it is seeing an influx of kittens and needs more people to care for them by fostering them. The goal of fostering is to socialize the kittens and get them ready for adoption. Jay Jackson has been a kitten foster mom for four years, and said it’s rewarding […]

  • News

    Inside a classified Cold War-era antenna site, now shut down

    by Bonney Bowman on May 25, 19:49

    After 50 years monitoring radio waves, the AN/FLR 9 antenna array on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson was shut down Wednesday. The site, also known as the “elephant cage,” is a relic from the Cold War. At 40 acres in size and standing 120 feet tall, the antenna array stands mostly unchanged from when it was built […]

  • Lifestyle

    Bean’s Café chef hoping to win Food Network challenge

    by Shannon Ballard on May 25, 19:08

    Shawn Dinkins is a chef at Bean’s Café who helps serve around 800 hot meals daily and is almost always hustling to make sure lunch is ready on time for those who might not otherwise have it. “I know I could have worked at any other restaurant and I love restaurants, but this is where my […]

  • News

    Anchorage gets first canine wildlife inspector

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 25, 18:53

    He may seem like an unlikely hero, but U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife officers are hoping Dock, an 18-month-old Labrador retriever who started life as a shelter dog, can help them solve a serious problem. Anchorage is one of the busiest cargo hubs in the world, but not everything that comes through the state […]

  • Crime

    DOC commissioner calls officer’s arrest a victory for new unit

    by Eric Ruble on May 25, 16:55

    The Department of Corrections said Wednesday the arrest of one of their own was frustrating for commissioner Dean Williams, but a small victory for a new DOC internal affairs unit. At a press conference, Williams credited the successful investigation and arrest of Goose Creek Corrections officer Adam Spindler, 32, to the commissioner’s new Professional Conduct […]

  • News

    Town Square Park fountain will be removed to address public safety concerns

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 25, 14:49

    Anchorage’s Town Square Park fountain will soon be taken down in an effort by the municipality to combat public safety concerns, according to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. “This fountain is a way of camouflaging criminal activity that I don’t think we just need to tolerate,” Berkowitz said. The mayor made the announcement late-Wednesday morning inside of […]