The people elected to run county government would get raises of at least 13.3 percent — and some more than 24 percent — under terms of legislation soon to be on the governor’s desk.
Wednesday’s vote came over the objections of a handful of lawmakers who said the pay increase was too large.
The 44-13 House vote sends the measure to the governor.
County officials do not set their own salaries but are dependent on the Legislature. They also can get an increase only once every four years as state law precludes a pay raise during an individual’s term.
Big winners under this plan would be the assessors, recorders, supervisors and treasurers in Pima and Maricopa counties. They would get a 24.2 percent raise in their current $54,600 salaries, bringing their pay to $67,800.
All other county officials would receive a 13.3 percent raise.
Sheriffs’ salaries would increase to $89,225, and the salary of county attorneys would move to $109,450.
Rep. Russell Pearce, RMesa, acknowledged that the last increase took effect three years ago.
"I’m not begrudging a reasonable salary increase,’’ he said. "But this is outrageous."
He said elected officials already have the most generous retirement plan of all public employees and are able to retire after 20 years at 80 percent of their highest salary.
Pearce also noted that the proposed state budget for next year offers most state employees a pay raise of only $800 a year, the equivalent of about 2 percent.
But Rep. Gary Pierce, RMesa, said the issue isn’t the size of the raise but what the people are worth.
"Our police chiefs make much more than sheriffs," he said. "And yet our sheriffs manage departments or offices that are as large and larger than many of our police departments."
Pierce also said taxpayers "ask a great deal of our supervisors."