Today, Nevada constitutional officers and legislators receive a 6 percent pay raise while state employees are still under a pay freeze. The leaders of the state will have their income increased because a 5-year-old law mandates they get raises equal to those given to state classified employees over the previous four years.
State workers received 2 percent raises in 2007 and 4 percent in 2008. However, those increases were diminished because of furloughs in 2009 and 2010 and those furloughs probably won’t end with the new year.
While lawmakers won’t see a large increase — they will receive $146.29 a day instead of $130 for the first 60 days of a regular session and the first 20 days of a special session — it is still an increase at a time when other state wages are at a standstill.
The constitutional officers will receive heftier monetary compensation with their 6-percent raises.
Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto’s salary will increase from $133,000 to $141,086, according to the Associated Press. Secretary of State Ross Miller, Treasurer Kate Marshall and Controller Kim Wallin would all see increases from $97,000 to $102,898, and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki’s salary goes from $60,000 to $63,648.
Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval will receive $149,573, which is an increase of more than $8,500 a year over Gov. Jim Gibbons salary. Sandoval has already promised to return the amount of his raise to the state treasury — something all constitutional officers should consider in 2011.
Sandoval’s action brings to mind a quote from “Remember the Titans,” in which a football team member says “Attitude reflects leadership, captain.” This means if you want people to do the best they can, you have to be up to the task of a true leader and willing to suffer with them.
State employees deserve leaders who understand the hardships put upon them in the past two years. If workers are expected to do more with less, their bosses can set a commendable example by taking on some of the burden as well.
Members of the Elko Daily Free Press editorial board are John Pfeifer, Jeffry Mullins and Marianne Kobak.