Our Salary Setting Authority
There have been misconceptions and misunderstandings about our authority with respect to the people's mandate to set the salaries of the state's elected officials. The law directs us to base salaries on realistic standards in order to pay the elected officials according to the duties of their office and to attract citizens of the highest quality to public service.
In setting the salaries of the elected officials, we may:
- Make salary adjustments to individual positions or to a group of positions such as the judges. These adjustments often are for equity or alignment purposes. For example, in 2007 the Lieutenant Governor's salary was adjusted to correct a long-time salary inequity. Judges also received an adjustment to continue to bring their salaries into alignment with the Federal bench.
- Grant an across the board adjustment such as a general wage adjustment (GWA) or make a flat dollar adjustment to individual positions, a group or groups of positions, or to all positions. All positions received a 3.2% general wage adjustment in 2007 and 2008.
- Make no change, retain current salary levels.
The 2011 Commission continued the freeze of salaries at 2008 levels.
The Constitution expressly prohibits us from decreasing the state's elected officials' salaries during their current term of office. Our function is to set salaries. We have no authority or jurisdiction over any benefits the elected officials receive.