Dec. 14, 2005 Gov. Charles W. Turnbull has asked for an approximate 40 percent increase in his and his lieutenant governor's salaries. And he wants the raises retroactive to Oct. 1 the start of the current fiscal year.
In a letter accompanying the draft legislation to Senate President Lorraine Berry, dated Dec. 12, Turnbull wrote, "The salaries of the governor and lieutenant governor were last increased fifteen years ago in 1990. Currently the salaries are much lower than those of the heads of the departments and agencies they supervise."
Furthermore, Turnbull said the salaries were "much lower than those of the heads of the various semi-autonomous and independent agencies." Turnbull said his salary was lower even than"some middle management government employees."
However, a search of the Internet reveals that at the $135,000 Turnbull wants as his increased salary, he would be making more than the governors of most of the states in the union, including Hawaii, Alaska, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Colorado, Vermont, Idaho, Utah, Arizona the list goes on.
New York Gov. George Pataki is the highest paid governor in the nation with a salary of $179,000 in 2001. New York State has about 19 million residents.
President George W. Bush was paid $116,000 when he was governor of Texas.
Turnbull currently gets an $80,000 salary plus expenses. Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards currently makes $75,000. Under the proposed Turnbull salary increase bill, Richards would get $120,000 a year also more than the governors of the above mentioned states.
This is not the first time Turnbull has tried to run this increase. Shortly after his re-election and after giving substantial raises to commissioners and other unclassified employees, prior to the election, (see Proposed Exempt Employee Pay Hikes Total $8.7 Million), Turnbull used the same reasoning to try to give himself and Richards a raise. After the dust from the public outcry settled, no more was heard about the proposed salary increase for the governor and lieutenant governor.
However, the other increases Turnbull granted to about 1,000 government employees did come up around the same time in February 2003 — when the Senate was charged with finding the money to pay for them. (See Words Fly over FY '03 Funding for '02 Pay Raises) .
Government House and the Senate were both silent Wednesday on the issue. Neither James O'Bryan, Government House spokesman, nor Berry returned calls for comments on Turnbull's proposed salary increase bill.