• 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

  • Weather

    Evening News Weather, May 29

    by KTVA Weather on May 29, 20:05

    Kenai Peninsula/Prince William Sound Sunny and warmer. Near-record temperatures for some south central locations.   Southeast Decreasing clouds with patch fog in the morning as the ridge of high pressure continues to bring quiet and stable weather.   Interior/North Slope Mostly sunny with patchy morning fog except for northern areas like Fort Yukon where there […]

  • News

    From rescued to rescuer: Alaska search and rescue volunteers give back

    by Elizabeth Raines on May 29, 20:05

    Brian Aho knows a thing or two about hiking and climbing. He’s been doing it since he was a kid, when he used to take trips with his dad and younger brother in the back country. “We would sit down and pull out the maps, get a pencil out, and we’d go through the whole […]

  • News

    Lifeguards ask parents’ help to keep watch over their children in Alaska’s waters

    by Shannon Ballard on May 29, 19:23

    On days as nice as Friday, Anchorage resident Maggie Eisert says taking her kids to Jewel Lake is the routine. “We have to take advantage of the nice, warm — well, what we would consider hot — weather,” Eisert said. Jewel Lake is one of only two manned beaches in Anchorage. Lifeguard Morgan Brown says the […]

  • News

    Anchorage police investigate body found in water near Kincaid Park

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 18:46

    The Anchorage Police Department says a body has been found on the mudflats near the Jodhpur Motocross Track in Kincaid Park. The body was discovered shortly after 6 p.m. Friday by someone walking near the water’s edge, according to a statement from APD spokeswoman Renee Oistad. “Anchorage Police are currently involved in a body recovery on […]

  • News

    APD: Motorcyclist’s death likely due to distracted driving

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 17:57

    The Anchorage Police Department says a motorcyclist was killed in a single vehicle crash that was caused by a brief moment of distraction. APD responded to the scene of the crash near the intersection of Breezewood Drive and Klamath Drive at 2:41 p.m., involving an adult male. Witnesses told police a shopping bag slid off […]

  • News

    Bethel police locate man in video, say he’s material witness

    by Daysha Eaton / KYUK Radio on May 29, 17:26

    This story originates from KYUK Public Media and was published with permission. BETHEL – The Bethel Police Department has issued a statement saying they’ve located the person of interest in the video they released yesterday. The video was taken in the AC Quick Stop store apartments and was related to the homicide of Eunice Whitman. Whitman was […]

  • News

    Alaska DOT to receive $2M in emergency relief funds for Dalton Highway repairs

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 16:41

    The U.S. Secretary of Transportation announced Friday the availability of $2 million in emergency relief funds to help the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities repair the Dalton Highway after flooding damaged the road. Overflow from the Sagavanirktok (Sag) River began affecting the highway in March, forcing several closures along the route north. Gov. […]

  • News

    Obama signs trafficking bill that held up Lynch confirmation

    by Associated Press on May 29, 16:34

    President Barack Obama has signed human trafficking legislation that provoked weeks of partisan dissent in the Senate and held up Loretta Lynch’s confirmation for attorney general. The legislation expands law enforcement tools to target sex traffickers, creates a new fund to help victims, and defines child pornography production as a form of trafficking. The House […]