Assembly awards pay raises to more than 100 staffers
The California Assembly has awarded raises to roughly 150 legislative staffers this year, even as lawmakers voted to cut pay for most state workers to help balance the state budget.
Although officials declined to provide exact figures late Wednesday, they said the pay hikes affected about 60 Assembly employees who were reclassified and about 90 workers who had not received merit raises for at least three years.
Most of the increases were between 3% and 5%, with those on the lower end of the salary scale receiving the largest pay increases, said Jon Waldie, chief administrative officer of the Assembly.
A list of Assembly staffers' salaries can be found on the chamber's website.
The raises are part of a policy established by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) in December, when roughly a quarter of the lower house's employees received pay increases. Most of those workers had not received raises for at least three years. Lawmakers must request the raises for their employees and pay for the increases with their own office budgets.
"It’s a policy that’s sound," Waldie said. The raises "are going to people who haven't had increases in three years."
Waldie said the Assembly was doing its part to help the state balance its books, transferring 15% of its operating budget to other state agencies each year. The chamber gave $22 million to help fund various government programs last year, he said.
On Wednesday, the state Senate also revealed that it had spent $1.5 million on raises for 559 of its employees in the last year. After a Times inquiry, state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) issued a statement proposing a salary freeze on all Senate employees for the fiscal year that began July 1.
Waldie said the Assembly had no such plans.
-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento
Photo: Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) answer questions at a news conference in 2011. Credit: Associated Press /Rich Pedroncelli