Commission recommends 40% pay raise for Alaska governor

The Alaska State Officers Compensation Commission this week recommended that the governor's salary increase from $125,000 to $175,000 a year.

The commission also recommends a pay raise for the lieutenant governor from $100,000 to $135,000 a year.

In its report, the four-member commission suggests salaries for the two heads of the executive branch of government be brought in line with the heads of other branches of state government. The commission also cites the higher salaries of other states' governors and lieutenant governors, and the higher cost of living in Alaska.

The commission said the governor and lieutenant governor are far from the highest paid state employees even though they're leaders of the executive branch: 325 state workers make more the governor and 1,174 make more than the lieutenant governor. That doesn't count some higher-paid employees of the University of Alaska, the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. and the state-owned railroad, the commission said.

If the Legislature approved the recommended pay raises, 19 state workers in the executive branch still would earn more than the governor, the commission said.

The recommended raises place the Alaska governor and lieutenant governor pay among the top 10 to 15 percent of their peers in other states, the commission said.

Public hearings on the recommendations are scheduled for 1 p.m. on both Dec. 7 and Jan. 7 at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office, 716 W. Fourth Ave., Suite 220.

A couple of years ago, when Sarah Palin was governor, the commissioners recommended the job get a pay increase to $150,000. Palin said she would reject that, and it was never implemented.

The commission is charged with recommending the pay levels for the governor, lieutenant governor, state department heads and legislators at least every two years.

The four commissioners are chairman Rick Halford, a former state legislator; Mike Miller; Gordon Harrison and Thomas McGrath.

Anchorage Daily News