Members of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s cabinet stand for applause during the governor’s 2023 State of the State address on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, at the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom and the commissioners of the state’s cabinet-level agencies will automatically receive inflation-driven raises in July unless the Alaska Legislature passes legislation by March 25 to block the increase.
The State Officers Compensation Commission, which sets the pay of the governor, lieutenant governor, department heads and the Legislature, has recommended increasing the governor’s salary from $145,000 per year to approximately $176,000 per year.
The lieutenant governor’s salary would rise from $125,000 per year to about $140,000, and commissioners’ salaries would rise from $141,160 per year to about $168,000, with the exact amounts to be determined by the Department of Administration’s finance division.
The governor’s existing salary is the 862nd highest among state employees, below the manager of the Bethel airport.
In their report, finalized late last month, the five-member commission recommended increasing salaries by 2% per year since the last increase. The positions of governor and lieutenant governor last received a pay increase in 2011, and department heads received one in 2015.
The commission recommended no changes in legislative pay, pending further analysis.
Under state law, the commission’s recommendations become effective in 60 days unless lawmakers specifically introduce and pass legislation to block the change. The recommendations were dated Jan. 24.
No such legislation has yet been introduced, and members of the Senate and House finance committees said Monday that they have not considered the issue.
Last year, the commission recommended a gross pay cut for the Legislature, no change for the governor at his request and increases for the lieutenant governor and commissioners.
Legislators needed only three days to introduce and pass a bill to negate those recommendations.
If the Legislature declines to oppose the commission’s recommendations, the new pay scale would begin with fiscal year 2024, which starts July 1.
The draft budget for FY24 does not currently contain the higher salaries, and they would be contingent upon legislative appropriations to pay for them.
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