REP. LAVELLE SAYS AN AMENDMENT TO HIS COMPENSATION COMMISSION
REFORM MEASURE WILL STRENGTHEN THE BILL
State Representative Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley) today announced that he has introduced an amendment to his legislation (House Bill 159) that would change the procedure by which top legislative, judicial and executive branch officials receive a pay raise.
House Bill 159 would reform the system by which legislators, judges and members of the Executive Branch receive a pay hike, as recommended by the Delaware Compensation Commission. Established in 1984, the Delaware Compensation Commission reviews the salaries of these top officials every four years and issues recommendations. Under the current law, this report – next due in January 2013 – automatically becomes law unless lawmakers intervene to stop it. House Bill 159 would make the report advisory in nature only. Rep. Lavelle’s new amendment would make it advisory only for elected officials. Under the amendment, any recommended pay raise would automatically take effect for judges and Executive Branch officials, unless the General Assembly votes to reject the Commission’s report.
Rep. Lavelle said he decided to amend the bill, as it appeared otherwise stalled despite being on the House Ready List. He stated, “I’ve always said there is more than one way to skin this cat. I’ve heard some concerns about ‘market-rate’ compensation for a variety of appointed officials and this amendment takes that into consideration. I simply believe that elected officials should not get automatic pay raises. The legislature has a procedure for increasing salaries for all other state employees through the Joint Finance Committee’s budget-writing process. Any pay increase that state elected officials receive should be voted on by the General Assembly.”
Rep. Lavelle also stated, “With one month to go before the legislative session concludes, we are getting down to the wire on when we can consider this bill. I urge my colleagues in the House to take up this measure for consideration sooner rather than later.”
Until the compensation system is changed, Rep. Lavelle said he will continue donating his salary hike to local charities. Every year since 2005, Rep. Lavelle has donated his pay raise that went into effect following the Compensation Commission’s recommendation that year. State law requires the General Assembly to take affirmative action in order for a proposed pay hike to be rejected. Because the General Assembly never voted against the recommendation in 2005, the increase automatically took effect by default.
Rep. Lavelle’s total contributions will exceed $30,000 and decisions about which charitable organizations will receive a portion of the annual contribution will be made after the new fiscal year starts on July 1st.
Rep. Lavelle introduced the amendment to House Bill 159 earlier this week. The legislation has been released from committee and is awaiting consideration by the full House.