Senate picks top state leaders for pay raises, leaves off other state employees

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Thousands of state employees are infuriated after one of the Senate's late evening budget moves Wednesday.

Some 30,000 workers for state government are not set for any pay raise; however, the Senate passed a budget amendment to allow nine of the state's top elected officials, the constitutional officers, to get pay raises. Those officers are the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Attorney General, Comptroller General, Superintendent of Education, Adjutant General, and Commissioner of Agriculture. 

One senator pushing this raise is Senator Gerald Malloy (D- Darlington). He says elected leaders have gone longer without a pay raise than other state employees. 

In an interview on Thursday, WIS asked Malloy, "What would you say to those disgruntled state employees who say that these offices are being put above their jobs by this?"

Malloy replied: "Those are your words. Not mine. I don't know that they're being put above it. But I do have the fact sheet that in 1994, '95 when the constitutional officers got nothing, there was a 3.06%..." 

The South Carolina Employees Association, who speaks for all state workers, says they are more than disgruntled at this budget amendment. 

"They are expressing extreme frustration, very low morale. They're looking forward to the primary season coming along," said Carlton Washington.  

Washington says half of them all make below $34,156 per year. The pay raise for constitutional officers would give the governor about $42,000 more salary.

Malloy says this would only cost the state $250,000 for the budget year. However, Senator Darrell Jackson (D- Richland) is against giving nine people raises, and not all. 

"We cannot in good conscience pay state employees considerably less and pay constitutional officers considerably more…And so I don't know why there is an appetite to reward those who are already making high salaries," Jackson said.

If you want to see how your senator voted on this, here's the thing...they didn't go down the list to poll each senator. Instead, they had the whole Senate shout 'yes' or 'no'. 

Governor Henry McMaster has spoken against this and said he will veto it from the budget. The others have not gone on the record on where they stand.

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