Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 106
04/27/2005 08:00 AM RULES
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HB 98-NONUNION PUBLIC EMPLOYEE SALARY & BENEFIT 9:03:04 AM CHAIR ROKEBERG announced that the final order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 98, "An Act relating to the compensation of certain public officials, officers, and employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements; and providing for an effective date." 9:03:14 AM REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL moved Amendment 1, labeled 24-GH1099\G.5, Craver, 4/25/05, which read: Page 1, following line 3: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Section 1. AS 39.20.080(a) is amended to read: (a) The monthly salary of the head of each principal executive department of the state is not less than Range 28 nor more than Range 30 [EQUAL TO STEP E, RANGE 28] of the salary schedule in AS 39.27.011(a) for Juneau, Alaska." Page 1, line 4: Delete "Section 1" Insert "Sec. 2" Renumber the following bill sections accordingly. Page 3, lines 9 - 10: Delete "sec. 1" Insert "sec. 2" Page 3, line 10: Delete "secs. 2 and 3" Insert "secs. 3 and 4" Page 3, line 19: Delete "sec. 1" Insert "sec. 2" Delete "secs. 2 and 3" Insert "secs. 3 and 4" Page 3, lines 22 - 23: Delete "secs. 1 - 3" Insert "secs. 2 - 4" REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS objected for discussion purposes. CHAIR ROKEBERG announced that he brought forward the discussions on this matter. He related his understanding that Amendment 1 was offered, in concept, by former Governor Tony Knowles at the end of his last administration. He opined that the commissioners in the state are underpaid. 9:03:49 AM MIKE TIBBLES, Deputy Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Administration, explained that the salary of commissioners are unique in that they are tied to a range and a step in statute. The aforementioned results in a situation in which directors and deputy commissioners, through longevity, receive a higher salary than commissioners. Furthermore, in reviewing the Council of State Government's information regarding Western [states], Alaska doesn't offer competitive salaries. 9:04:55 AM REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked if Amendment 1 could result in a commissioner starting at a lower range, and therefore those [commissioners] who haven't already been in state service could receive a 28A rather than a 28E. She suggested that the language should be "not less than step E Range 28". MR. TIBBLES said he read Amendment 1 to allow the option of a the full scale of Ranges 28-30 for the commissioner, including Range 28A. CHAIR ROKEBERG surmised then that Amendment 1 creates flexibility. 9:06:14 AM REPRESENTATIVE MCGUIRE agreed that there would be the desire for more discretion on the lower end. However, she questioned whether on the upper end there should be the sideboard of a step E. MR. TIBBLES expressed concern with placing a step with a Range 30 because it doesn't take that long in a Range 28 before one equals a Range 30A. Therefore, as one moves up, he/she would run into barriers, even at a different step because an equivalent can be calculated. 9:07:09 AM REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL said that due to the four-year gubernatorial cycle, commissioners change rather rapidly. Therefore, he said he didn't know whether it's a "big deal." 9:07:34 AM REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS related his belief that the governor should be the highest paid person in the state bureaucracy, higher than the commissioners. He inquired as to the highest step in a Range 30. MR. TIBBLES answered that a Range 30M is at the end of the pay schedule, which amounts to $117,000. 9:08:49 AM CHAIR ROKEBERG referred to a handout in the committee packet entitled "COMMISSIONERS", which relates that under CSHB 98(STA) [Range 30M] would [increase] to $124,752 from the current $117,000. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS said that he would have a difficult time with "having anything more than whatever step and Range 30 would be ... $115,000 or less." He reiterated that the governor should have a higher salary than commissioners. CHAIR ROKEBERG pointed out that several specialties and practitioners make more than [$115,000]. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS highlighted that most often commissioners are political appointees, not specialists. He reiterated that he has difficulty with commissioners making more than the governor. CHAIR ROKEBERG pointed out that Amendment 1 offers flexibility, and the commissioners wouldn't necessarily make more than the governor. 9:10:20 AM MR. TIBBLES provided the following scenario. Within the executive branch a number of directors have been in place longer than the commissioners. These directors have expertise in a certain area and are a good applicant pool to move up when vacancies occur. However, at the Range 26 director level, first year in longevity at seven years, the individual is at Range 28E, which is the current salary for the commissioner. Caps result in the same situation that exists now in which the caps become barriers to [promoting] those already in the state system. 9:11:37 AM REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS highlighted that people who work with the state long term aren't normally subject to the change in administrations, but commissioners are. Commissioners have no expected longevity beyond the term of the governor; although state employees expect longevity, if they do good job. 9:12:39 AM CHAIR ROKEBERG asked if a division director can also be terminated during the change of an administration. MR. TIBBLES noted that although division directors are partially exempt, they are frequently [terminated] with the change of administrations. CHAIR ROKEBERG referred to a spreadsheet in the committee packet [from CSG information] regarding the 13 western states. Of the 12 states, excluding Alaska, listed, [the salary for department heads] in 10 of the states is higher than the proposed salary of $115,000 that's being proposed for the governor. Chair Rokeberg said that he is in support of Amendment 1 without any modifications. He indicated the need to have competitive salaries in order to recruit [qualified individuals]. 9:14:25 AM REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA maintained her concern with [the possibility of Amendment 1 allowing a commissioner] to receive a lower step than E. 9:14:42 AM REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL commented that Representative Harris brings up a good point in that commissioners are hired and fired at will. He opined that the proposed range is good. However, he wasn't sure about the argument that [the governor] should have a higher [range than commissioners]. He indicated that the governor receives a "package" beyond his salary, which may outweigh the actual dollar amount. 9:15:54 AM REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS withdrew his objection to Amendment 1. There being no further objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. 9:16:08 AM REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL moved that the committee adopt Amendment 2, labeled 24-GH1099\G.3, Craver, 4/21/05, which read: Page 1, line 1, following "compensation of": Insert "the governor, the lieutenant governor, and" Page 1, following line 3: Insert new bill sections to read: "* Section 1. AS 39.20.010(a) is amended to read: Sec. 39.20.010. Annual salary of governor. (a) The annual salary of the governor is $115,000 [$81,648]. * Sec. 2. AS 39.20.030(a) is amended to read: Sec. 39.20.030. Annual salary of lieutenant governor. (a) The annual salary of the lieutenant governor is $100,000 [$76,188]." Page 1, line 4: Delete "Section 1" Insert "Sec. 3" Renumber the following bill sections accordingly. Page 2, following line 30: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Sec. 6. AS 39.20.010(b), 39.20.010(c), 39.20.030(b), and 39.20.030(c) are repealed." Renumber the following bill sections accordingly. Page 3, lines 9 - 10: Delete "sec. 1" Insert "sec. 3" Page 3, line 10: Delete "secs. 2 and 3" Insert "secs. 4 and 5" Page 3, line 19: Delete "sec. 1" Insert "sec. 3" Delete "secs. 2 and 3" Insert "secs. 4 and 5" Page 3, lines 22 - 23: Delete "secs. 1 - 3" Insert "secs. 3 - 5" REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS objected. 9:16:28 AM CHAIR ROKEBERG explained that Amendment 2 would increase the annual salary of the governor to $115,000 and the annual salary of the lieutenant governor to $100,000. 9:16:38 AM CHAIR ROKEBERG referred to an attachment to Amendment 2, which specified the language of AS 39.20.010, AS 39.20.020, AS 39.20.030, and AS 39.20.040. He highlighted the following statute: Sec. 39.20.020. Date of entitlement of governor's salary. The governor is entitled to receive the salary established for the office effective from the date on which the oath of office is taken by the governor. Sec. 39.20.040. Date of entitlement of lieutenant governor's salary. The lieutenant governor is entitled to receive the salary established for the office effective from the date on which the oath of office is taken by the lieutenant governor. CHAIR ROKEBERG specified that the current statutes specify that the enactment of any increase to the governor's or lieutenant governor's salary wouldn't be impacted until the swearing in of the next governor in December 2006. Chair Rokeberg reiterated that he brought this issue forward on his own accord, not at the request of the governor. In fact, the governor has said he doesn't need a raise, but acknowledged that it might be good for the next occupant of the position. 9:18:24 AM REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS moved to adopt Amendment 1 to Amendment 2, which would increase the governor's salary from "$115,000" to "$130,000" [on line 8 of the Amendment 2]. Amendment 1 to Amendment 2 would allow the governor to be paid more than the highest Range for a commissioner. CHAIR ROKEBERG objected for discussion purposes. He explained that one of the initial reasons for selecting the $115,000 salary for the governor was that of the 13 western states, excluding Alaska, the average compensation for the governor is approximately $113,000. 9:20:09 AM REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS compared the salary of the President of the University of Alaska to that of the governor. The salary of the President of the University of Alaska is approximately $250,000 annually. However, the governor of the state has more responsibility than the President of the University of Alaska, and therefore $130,000 isn't out of range for the governor's responsibilities. Representative Harris opined that the governor's salary has been unfairly held down for years. He reiterated that the governor shouldn't be paid lower than the people who work for him, save those in specialty positions. CHAIR ROKEBERG pointed out that if Amendment 1 to Amendment 2 was adopted, the Alaska governor in 2006 would be fifth from the top in terms of compensation - equivalent to Wyoming. He commented that Amendment 1 to Amendment 2 isn't out of line. 9:22:26 AM REPRESENTATIVE MCGUIRE opined that she liked raising the governor's salary to $130,000 because the differential is more in keeping with the position. She indicated agreement with Representative Harris in that this wouldn't benefit the current governor. Furthermore, it's time to raise the governor's salary, she opined. She also opined that she didn't think the governor's salary would be raised again for a long time. 9:23:27 AM CHAIR ROKEBERG asked what other benefits accrue to the Office of the Governor in terms of expenses, housing, et cetera. MR. TIBBLES said that he isn't able to speak to that. However, he highlighted that the salary provided in statute is considered complete compensation. CHAIR ROKEBERG asked if the governor receives any expense accounts or housing allowances. 9:24:24 AM REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS related that in doing the budget, the governor has funds available just as the legislature does to pay for its members' travel. He assumed that the governor didn't have to pay rent to live in the mansion and has access to a state vehicle. Representative Harris then informed the committee that the President of the University of Alaska receives a free car, a free house, and an expense account. 9:25:14 AM CHAIR ROKEBERG requested this information be provided before this legislation goes to the House floor. He related his understanding that the governor is required to live in the mansion and receives some allowances and does pay some salaries. CHAIR ROKEBERG maintained his objection to Amendment 1 to Amendment 2. 9:26:38 AM A roll call vote was taken. Representatives Kerttula, Harris, McGuire voted in favor of Amendment 1 to Amendment 2. Representatives Coghill, Kohring, and Rokeberg voted against it. Therefore, Amendment 1 to Amendment 2 failed by a vote of 3-3. The committee took an at-ease from 9:27 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. 9:30:05 AM REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS moved that the committee adopt Amendment 2 to Amendment 2, which would increase the governor's salary from "$115,000" to "$125,00" [on line 8 of Amendment 2]. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL objected. 9:30:21 AM A roll call vote was taken. Representatives Kerttula, Harris, McGuire, and Rokeberg voted in favor of Amendment 2 to Amendment 2. Representatives Coghill and Kohring voted against it. Therefore, Amendment 2 to Amendment 2 was adopted by a vote of 4-2. CHAIR ROKEBERG announced that Amendment 2, as amended, is before the committee. There being no objection, Amendment 2, as amended, was adopted. 9:32:46 AM REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL moved to report CSHB 98(STA), as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying and forthcoming fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSHB 98(RLS) was reported out the House Rules Standing Committee.