Automatic pay hike for DeKalb commissioners, CEO proposed


DeKalb County commissioners and CEO Mike Thurmond could be in line for pay raises this year that would also give them automatic boosts in the future.

Commissioners have asked for years to have their salaries set at a percentage of what superior court judges make, which the DeKalb House delegation is now considering. The bill would pay commissioners a salary equal to 40 percent of what judges earn and the chief executive officer at 90 percent.

If the bill becomes law, whenever the General Assembly approves salary increases for superior court judges the annual pay for commissioners and the chief executive would rise, too. This would allow commissioners to avoid the politically touchy process of approving their own pay increases, but the money would still come from the DeKalb County budget.

Rep. Billy Mitchell, the bill sponsor, said during Monday’s delegation meeting that even if judges’ pay is held flat commissioners would see their salaries rise to $62,000, up from their current base of $40,530. He said Thurmond’s salary would increase roughly 3 percent from $162,120 to $166,478.

No copy of the legislation was available during the meeting, which raised the ire of Rep. Doreen Carter, who asked why members had not been briefed.

“I’m getting questions about the raises, and I don’t recall hearing it in the delegation meeting,” Carter, D-Lithonia, said.

Mitchell, D-Stone Mountain, said that the bill was vetted during the delegation’s Policy Committee meeting, and now it’s time for all 17 members to weigh in. He needs at least nine to agree to sign onto the bill because a majority of the delegation’s approval is needed before it can go to the full House.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution received a copy of the proposed bill after the meeting. Commissioners could be in line for a pay increase much larger than what Mitchell indicated.

It remains to be seen whether the percentages will be applied to judges’ base pay, which is $126,265, or their salary including local supplements, which is $184,677.

If it’s the base rate, Thurmond’s pay would decrease substantially and commissioners would be due $50,506, which is a 25-percent raise. However, if the judges’ larger salary is used in the formula, Thurmond gets the 3-percent boost and commissioners’ get an even larger increase to $73,990.

Mitchell could not be reached after the meeting to clarify which number is being used.

If there aren’t enough delegation members to support the proposal in its current form, the bill could be amended or dropped all together, he said earlier.

“At the end of the day, they may have raises, they may have lower salaries or they may have nothing at all,” Mitchell said.


Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Legislature

Georgia House committee approves HOPE scholarship eligibility change
Georgia House committee approves HOPE scholarship eligibility change

A Georgia House of Representatives committee voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of a bill that would extend student eligibility for the HOPE Scholarship from seven to 15 years. Rep. Rick WIlliams, R-Milledgeville, the main sponsor of House Bill 928, said the extension is needed to help students who had to temporarily end their academic careers...
DeKalb: Greenhaven cityhood bill remains a long shot
DeKalb: Greenhaven cityhood bill remains a long shot

The bill that would authorize a referendum on establishing the city of Greenhaven still hasn’t received a hearing this legislative session, and time is running out. If the legislation is not approved, it would make the fourth consecutive year that the cityhood measure has stalled at the General Assembly. Rep. Ed Rynders, an Albany Republican...
Georgia Legislature Today: Gun control push comes to the Capitol
Georgia Legislature Today: Gun control push comes to the Capitol

The Georgia General Assembly at a glance for Wednesday, Day 24 of the 2018 legislative session: Gun control rally: Hundreds of gun control advocates plan to descend on the Georgia Capitol on Wednesday in the wake of last week’s deadly shooting in Parkland, Fla. The event, organized by Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun...
Atlanta transit bills headed for votes this week
Atlanta transit bills headed for votes this week

Two bills that could reshape mass transit in metro Atlanta are headed for key votes in the General Assembly this week. The Senate Transportation Committee today will take up Senate Bill 386, which would create a new board to oversee transit planning and construction in a 13-county region. The House Transportation Committee is expected to...
Georgia senate committee removes fines, explusions from campus speech bill
Georgia senate committee removes fines, explusions from campus speech bill

The Georgia senate’s higher education committee voted Tuesday to remove provisions from a bill that would impose fines and penalties as severe as expulsion for student protesters who repeatedly stop people from speaking on Georgia's public college campuses. Senate Bill 339 would include an amendment that would have the University System...
More Stories