Panel to consider pay raises for Gov. Brown, legislators

Panel to consider pay raises for Gov. Brown, legislators
Gov. Jerry Brown, left, speaks last year before signing the 2014-15 state budget. Looking on from the right is state Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. (Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday appointed a Sacramento Kings executive to a state panel that will meet Monday to decide whether to give the governor and state lawmakers a pay raise.

The appointment of Matina Kolokotronis, president of business operations for the professional basketball team, comes a year and a half after Brown and the Legislature eased environmental regulations to speed construction of an arena for the Kings in downtown Sacramento.

The state’s action prevents certain kinds of lawsuits from stopping the project unless a judge finds a danger to public health and safety. And it allows the city to force the sale of properties concurrently with the environmental review process.

Kolokotronis, a Democrat, gives the California Citizens Compensation Commission a bare, four-person quorum in time for its public meeting Monday on the salaries of state officials.

Commission Chairman Thomas Dalzell said that the 2.5% raises taking effect July 1 for many rank-and-file state workers could be a starting point for discussion of whether to increase elected officials' pay.

“I’m open to it,” he said.

State legislators are paid a base annual salary of $97,196, the highest in the country. But Dalzell noted that many county supervisors earn much more: an average of $238,000 in Los Angeles County and $153,000 in Orange County.

Brown’s salary is $177,466 a year, below the pay for the governors of Tennessee ($178,356), New York ($179,000) and Pennsylvania ($187,256).

The panel has given state officials 7.3% in raises over the last two years, restoring part of the 18% pay cut made in 2009, during the recession, when many state services and wages were reduced.

The commission meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at Sacramento City Hall and is open to the public.