Next public pay raise: Prosecuting attorneys | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Next public pay raise: Prosecuting attorneys

Posted By on Sat, Apr 11, 2015 at 7:09 AM

The independent citizens commission that recently raised the pay of legislators and state officials has one more duty thanks to the recent legislative session.

The legislature added prosecuting attorneys to the list of elected officials whose pay will be set by the commission. That takes the decision out of the hands of the legislature. The money is paid off the top and raises take effect within 10 days after the commission finally approves them.

The commission will meet at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Capitol to begin discussing prosecutor pay. The Bureau of Legislative Research is compiling information on current pay and pay in other places, but doesn't have a report yet.

The prosecutors will file a formal proposal on pay. It, too, is not yet available. But several sources indicate the group has decided to ask for pay for the top-tier prosecutors at 95 percent of the pay given circuit judges in the recent pay raises. The circuit judges got a pay increase from $140,372 to $160,000.

If the prosecutors are successful, their pay would rise to $152,000. 

There are 28 prosecuting attorneys. 25 of them are paid $124,394 and three are paid $104,089.  It's unclear what's planned for the second-tier prosecutors, but a raise to $152,000 would mean a 22 percent raise for most prosecutors. They'll argue — as judges did — that they've regularly been slighted by the legislature when it set pay in past years.  They've generally been held to the percentage increase given other state employees, with some occasional exceptions.

A 22 percent increase would outstrip the percentage increases given judges ranging from 11 to 15 percent depending on the level. But it would be far below the 150 percent pay increase given legislators and some significant pay raises given the statewide officers. That full list of previous raises is here.

Timing is not ideal for the prosecutors. Several commissioners had second thoughts about their original pay raise recommendations after an outpouring of negative public comments. The commission ultimately stuck with its original plans.

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