LITTLE ROCK — An Arkansas commission has approved pay raises for state government elected officials despite the objections of one official who personally doesn’t want the increase.
The Independent Citizens Commission formally approved the 3 percent raises on Tuesday for the state’s constitutional officers, judges, prosecutors and legislators. The pay bumps will cost the state $1.2 million annually, according to the Arkansas auditor’s office.
Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin previously asked the seven-member commission to exclude him from the across-the-board raises, but commissioners unanimously voted to approve them anyway. He then requested for Auditor Andrea Lea to withhold his raise.
“Saving taxpayer money shouldn’t be this hard,” he said.
Lea will still pay Griffin his raise because of a 2009 opinion from then-Attorney General Dustin McDaniel that said Arkansas must pay elected officials the increased amount set by the commission, said a spokesman for the auditor.
Griffin, who’s the only part-time employee among the state’s constitutional officers, said he understands the importance of the former attorney general’s opinion. No other officers have protested their raises.
This is the second consecutive year the commission has given out salary increases.
Commissioners on Tuesday also acknowledged two public comments objecting to the raises, one of which said elected officials knew what their salaries would be when running for office.
“Any raises in salary should be posted in the years before the date for filing a specific position,” said Sidney Hewgley, who submitted the comment. “These proposed raises are ridiculous, especially given the salaries of the rank and file.”
The raises will take effect in the next few weeks.