Salary Commission looks ahead after passage of Amendment 7
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Salary Commission looks ahead after passage of Amendment 7

Date: November 8, 2006
By: Rachel Higginbotham
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY -  The commission that sets pay raises for Missouri's elected state officials and judges could start meeting again immediately, a spokesperson for Gov. Blunt said Wednesday. The Citizens' Commission for Compensation for Elected Officials has not met since 2000.

The commission is supposed to meet four times per year, and make recommendations for salary changes for state officials every two years. Regardless of when pay raises are recommended, the amendment prohibits them from going into effect until 2009 for the legislature, but pay raises for judges could take effect sooner.

The renewed interest in the commission comes after the overwhelming passage of Amendment 7 Tuesday night. The amendment makes it harder for the state legislature to reject pay raises for elected officials and judges. The commission took a six-year hiatus from meeting after the legislature continually vetoed recommendations.

Gov. Blunt, who had not appointed any members to the defunct commission since he took office, tapped four members on Oct. 31. There are still eight seats left to fill by the governor. Governor appointees are subject to confirmation by the Senate in January.

Blunt spokesperson Brian Hauswirth said that the timing of the appointments had nothing to do with projected passage of Amendment 7.

"I don't think that there was any significance on the timing," Hauswirth said. "The governor wasn't banking on [Amendment 7] winning. We're always looking for folks."

The commission is supposed to have 22 members--nine appointed by the secretary of state, one by the supreme court, and 12 by the governor. The secretary of state and supreme court have already appointed their members.

Although the commission isn't completely filled, Hauswirth said that only a quorum--12 members--are required to begin meetings.

"Technically, they can start meeting whenever they want," Hauswirth said. He added that he had not heard any definite plans from the commission members yet.

Herbert Dill, one of the governor's newest appointees, said he does not think the commission will begin meeting immediately.

"I really don't know when we'll start meeting because I just received notification of the appointment, but I would assume that it would probably be after the [Senate] confirmation," Dill said.

Larry Schepker, Budge Division director for the state Office of Administrations said he also thinks the commission will wait.

"I would think they would want to wait until all the members were appointed," he said. Schepker's division provides staffing for the commission.

Hauswirth said he could not project when all the seats would be appointed by the governor. "It's a lengthy process," he said.

According to the state Constitution, commission members are required to possess certain attributes in order to serve. Blunt must still appoint

No more than six of the governor's appointees can be from the same political party.  So far, Blunt has appointed three Republicans--Pat Barr of Lamar, Michael King of Washington and Jack Pohrer of St. Louis. Dill, of O'Fallon is the only Democrat.