Eye On Olympia

No raises for state elected officials...

Not surprisingly, the citizen's panel that sets salaries for lawmakers, the governor, many judges and other state-paid officials has voted not to give any of them raises for the next two years.

"The Commission regrets the need to take this action," said a statement put out this morning by the Washington Citizens' Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials.

At hearings back in January, politician after politician (or their surrogates) stepped up to the mic and said that while they work hard, they didn't want a raise at a time when the state faced a multi-billion-dollar shortfall.

One exception: newly elected state school superintendent Randy Dorn. He stopped short of explicitly calling for more money. But he strongly hinted that the $121,000-a-year salary isn’t enough to keep attracting top talent to the public position.

By comparison, he said, 121 of the school superintendents across Washington are paid more than he is. The top 20 or so make considerably more — $200,000 or more, he said. The former head of a union representing public school support staff, Dorn said he personally took a $25k pay cut to become state school superintendent. He knew that when he ran for the job, he said. But he also suggested that the $121,618 salary wouldn't attract top-tier candidates in the future.

“How do you get quality people into the position? I think you’re going to have to make it more attractive than it is,” he told the commission.

That's a point that apparently was not lost on the commissioners, some of whom are concerned that the salaries aren't staying high enough to draw good judges.

"Future commissions will consider the long term needs of the state and will make continuing salary adjustments to be competitive and attract citizens of the highest quality to public service," the group said in its statement.

Here are what the salaries are today. They're frozen through the summer of 2011.

Executive Branch
Governor 166,891
Lieutenant Governor 93,948
Secretary of State 116,950
Treasurer 116,950
Auditor 116,950
Attorney General 151,718
Insurance Commissioner 116,950
Supt. Public Instruction 121,618
Commissioner of Public Lands 121,618

Judicial Branch
Supreme Court Justices 164,221
Court of Appeals Judges 156,328
Superior Court Judges 148,832
District Court Judges 141,710

Legislative Branch
Legislator 42,106
Speaker of the House 50,106
Senate Majority Leader 50,106
House Minority Leader 46,106
Senate Minority Leader 46,106

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