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Arkansas panel OKs pay raises for some elected officials

January 23, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2015, file photo, Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin is interviewed in his office at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark. An independent panel has approved raises for all 135 members of the Arkansas General Assembly and the state's seven constitutional officers for a total of more than $150,000 combined in payroll increases. Griffin, asked the commission not to increase his salary at all. Even so, the panel unanimously approved his pay raise. "The increase we're making is for the office of the lieutenant governor, not the person in the office," said Commission Chairman Chuck Banks, a Little Rock attorney. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2015, file photo, Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin is interviewed in his office at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark. An independent panel has approved raises for all 135 members of the Arkansas General Assembly and the state's seven constitutional officers for a total of more than $150,000 combined in payroll increases. Griffin, asked the commission not to increase his salary at all. Even so, the panel unanimously approved his pay raise. "The increase we're making is for the office of the lieutenant governor, not the person in the office," said Commission Chairman Chuck Banks, a Little Rock attorney. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An independent panel has approved raises for all 135 members of the Arkansas General Assembly and the state’s seven constitutional officers for a total of more than $150,000 combined in payroll increases.

The Independent Citizens Commission approved the 2.5% bump on Wednesday, which will go into effect 10 days after the panel files the resolution with the state auditor’s office, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Thursday.

The governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor and land commissioner are the constitutional officers who will receive the pay raise. None of those officials requested a pay raise, and one — Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin — asked the commission not to increase his salary at all. Even so, the panel unanimously approved his pay raise.

“The increase we’re making is for the office of the lieutenant governor, not the person in the office,” said Commission Chairman Chuck Banks, a Little Rock attorney.

The commission last year approved a 2.5% pay raises for Arkansas’ 194 judges and 28 elected prosecutors. It also gave $2,500 pay increases to the seven state Supreme Court justices and 12 Court of Appeals judges.

The pay raises are for cost-of-living adjustments.

In total, the commission approved $1.1 million in raises for elected officials in the state’s three branches of government. The judicial branch’s pay increase totaled more than $946,300, while $157,266 went to general assembly members and constitutional officers’ pay bumps.