Alaska’s governor, lieutenant governor and top officials are in line for a pay rise

Members of Governor Mike Dunleavy’s cabinet rise to applaud during the Governor’s 2023 State of the State Address Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, at the Alaska State Capitol (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Juneau, Alaska (Alaska Beacon) – Governor Mike Dunleavy, Lt. Governor Nancy Dahlstrom and commissioners of the state’s cabinet-level agencies will automatically receive inflation-driven increases in July unless the Alaska Legislature passes legislation before March 25 to block the increase.

The State Civil Servants’ Compensation Commission, which sets the salaries 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 increase from $125,000 per year to about $140,000, and commissioner salaries would increase from $141,160 per year to about $168,000, with exact amounts to be determined by the Department of Administration’s finance division.

The governor’s current salary is the 862nd highest among state employees, behind the Bethel airport manager.

In its report, completed late last month, the five-member commission recommended raising wages by 2% a year since the last increase. The governor and lieutenant governor positions last received a pay increase in 2011, and department heads received one in 2015.

The commission did not recommend changes to the legislative salary, pending further analysis.

Under state law, the commission’s recommendations take effect in 60 days, unless lawmakers specifically introduce and pass legislation to block the change. The recommendations were dated January 24.

No such legislation has yet been introduced, and members of the Senate and House finance committees said Monday 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.

It took lawmakers just three days to introduce and pass a bill to deny those recommendations.

If the Legislature declines to oppose the commission’s recommendations, the new pay scale would begin with fiscal year 2024, which begins July 1.

The FY24 budget proposal currently does not contain the highest salaries, and they would rely on legislative appropriations to pay them.