Proposed raise for Governor and other elected officials

By Glen Mills

Published 12/11 2013 04:14PM

Updated 12/11 2013 05:35PM

SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – Is it time for the state's chief executive and other elected officials to get a raise?

A state compensation commission says yes, but now it's up to the legislature to decide.

Do you know how much the Governor of Utah makes?

"I would say anywhere between $50,000 to $75,000," said Utah resident, Jared Van Aarle.

"I would guess $70,000, $80,000 a year," said Utah resident, Anthony Caywood.

What's your guess?

The answer is $109,900 a year.

State law ties four other salaries to 95% of the governor’s.

That gives the Lt. Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer and State Auditor $104,400 a year.

According to the Department of Workforce Services, the average annual wage in Utah is $40,644.

The Elected Official and Judicial Compensation Commission, made up of volunteers, has been looking into those figures for the last 10 years.

Chairman Roger Tew says even though it may seem like a lot of money, it's not when compared to similar positions.

"A number of mayors, a number of county commissioners, a number of other public officials are paid significantly more than the governor," said Tew.

Like the President of the University of Utah, with a salary of $351,887 a year, the Executive Director of UDOT, at $160,222 a year and the Executive Director of DHS, at $130,977 a year.

"We had a very capable and popular Lt. Governor step down, clearly stating one of the issues was financial," said Tew.

That's why the commission thinks the pay should be more competitive.

They are recommending a 36.5% increase for the five positions, putting them more in line with the Judicial Branch.

That would take the Governor to $150,000 a year and the other four to $142,500 year.

If it went through it would increase the state's $13.3 billion budget by $262,700.

Chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, Jim Dabakis is currently trying to recruit a candidate to run for Attorney General in November, he says the increase could help attract more qualified people.

"Do you want your chief law enforcement officer, the person responsible for all the contracts to be one of the lowest paid lawyers around? I don't think so," said Dabakis.

Utah residents ABC 4 Utah spoke with are split on the proposal.

“That big of a raise is ridiculous, just plain ridiculous! They say our economy is not bad, and it's doing better, it's not," said Van Aarle.

"If it's in the budget, it's in the budget, but it's just like a business, they have to balance it out and pay them what they deserve," said Caywood.

The proposal was presented to the Appropriations Committee Tuesday and is now in the hands of the legislature.

The same figures failed to pass last year and it could be a tough sell this year as well.

Although Tew is confident law makers could take some action even if they don't follow the full recommendations.

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