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Pay bill for constitutional officers reviewed

Nevada’s Assembly Ways and Means Committee is looking at legislation that would give the state’s top elected officials their first pay raises in eight years.

AB462 would raise pay for the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, controller, treasurer and attorney general by an average of 20 percent.

AB462 would increase the governor’s pay from $117,000 to $141,000 and the attorney general’s pay from $110,000 to $133,000. The secretary of state, controller and treasurer would all be raised from $80,000 to $97,000.

The lieutenant governor would be paid $60,000 instead of the current $50,000 a year.

Committee Fiscal analyst Mark Stevens said the raises were calculated to basically match inflation over the past eight years..

But the current office holders would not get the raises. All of them are barred from running for their position again in 2006 when the raises would take effect.

“The newly elected officers in January 2007 would receive the increased amounts,” said Stevens. “There would be no increase for the incumbents.”

Assemblyman Bob Seale, R-Las Vegas, former state treasurer, said he supports the increases.

“It barely keeps up with inflation,” he said. “It’s crucial we have salaries that are adequate to attract the very best people we can get.”

He said the salary levels are low compared to similar posts in the private sector and that it’s a mistake not to pass an increase every four years “because then we see these large increases.”

Committee Vice Chairwoman Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, agreed saying she believes people will support increasing pay for constitutional officers. She said it might be time to put a cost-of-living increase in so those officials get a regular pay increase.

Seale said he believes that is barred by the constitution.

The committee took no action on the bill.

A companion piece of legislation under review is SB419 which would give county elected officials pay raises. Those officials received substantial increases two years ago – more than 25 percent. But like constitutional officers they had received no increase in the previous eight years. This year’s increases for sheriffs, district attorneys, clerks, assessors and other county elected officers would average about 7 percent.

That legislation is also still in committee.

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.