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Published: Wednesday, 12/19/2007

Strickland won't take raise he's slated to get

BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS - Gov. Ted Strickland won't take the automatic pay raise that state law says he is entitled to.

"People in public office should attempt to lead by example," he said. "I made a difficult decision [early this year] that a lot of good people who work for the state and who may very well deserve a pay raise won't be getting one."

As the governor enters his second year in office, a state law that is about to expire called for him, other statewide elected officials, judges, and county and township elected officials to receive annual raises based on the rate of inflation or 3 percent, whichever is less.

The raise for 2008 would be 2.8 percent. The governor currently is paid $144,831.

House Speaker Jon Husted (R., Kettering) said there are no plans to interfere with the last scheduled automatic pay raise for lawmakers to take effect on Jan. 1. But he said it would be unlikely that the General Assembly will move in the current economic environment to pass a bill to continue the raises into the future.

"These are always tough things to do, and I think it's a really tough thing to do at a time when we have a high unemployment rate," he said. "I think we're the fourth-highest in the nation. We lost 11,500 jobs in the last year, and the last thing I think elected officials should be doing is lobbying for a pay raise for themselves."

Lawmakers will be paid about $60,500 a year after the 2008 cost-of-living adjustment.

Mr. Strickland said he will not offer advice to the legislative branch and other elected officers as to whether they should accept their pay raises.

A bill currently pending in the General Assembly would provide pay raises for judges, but that bill is unlikely to move.

Mr. Strickland said he has not threatened to veto it, but he added, "I can tell you I would be just as happy if it didn't reach my desk."



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