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Position, population and experience can affect elected officials pay

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By Stephen Lega

When voters go to the polls on May 20 and on Nov. 4, they will be voting for a variety of federal, state and local officials.
While voters know that their taxes are used to compensate these officials, they might not know what each of these officials are paid.
Here is a closer look at what compensation officials receive at each level of government for the current year. For many positions, the salaries for 2015 have not yet been determined.

Federal offices
Kentucky voters will be electing a senator and their U.S. representatives this year.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the standard pay for U.S. Senators and Representatives is $174,000.
The incumbent in the senatorial race is Mitch McConnell, who is the minority leader in the Senate. As his party’s leader, McConnell’s salary is $193,400.
McConnell is being challenged on the Republican side by Matt Bevin, Brad Copas, Chris Payne and Shawna Sterling.
Four Democrats are also running for a chance to be the party’s senate nominee in the primary. They are Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Burrel Charles Farnsley, Greg Leichty and Tom Recktenwald.
In the Congressional race, incumbent First District Congressman Ed Whitfield did not have any challengers in the Republican primary. Two Democrats, Wes Bolin and Charles Hatchett, are vying to run against Whitfield in November.

State offices
Both legislators who represent Marion County are up for re-election this year.
State Senator Jimmy Higdon, who represents the 14th District, did not have any challengers in the Republican primary, and no Democrats registered to run against him. According to the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, Higdon received a salary of $18,839.50 during the 2014 General Assembly, and he is scheduled to receive an interim salary of $1,882.20. The interim salary varies depending on which committees each legislator serves and how often those committees meet.
State Rep. Terry Mills, who represents the 24th District, does not have a challenger in the Democratic primary, but Republicans J. Alex LaRue and Richard Treitz are running for the chance to challenge Mills in November.
Mills salary during the 2014 session was $18,633.78, according to the LRC. He is also scheduled to receive an interim salary of $2,070.42.

County offices
The salaries for the county judge/executive, clerk, sheriff and jailer are determined by the state under the provisions of KRS 64.5275. The pay for those positions is based on each county’s population and how many years an official has been in that office.
For 2014, Marion County was considered to be in Group 3, which is counties with populations between 10,000 and 19,999 people.
Three of our current officials County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly, Jailer Barry Brady, and Sheriff Jimmy Clements have reached step 4 on the salary schedule, which means they have been in office for more than three years.
According to the state schedule, they are being paid $82,130.59 this year.
Based on the most recent population estimates, Marion County has a population of 20,090, which means the county will be in Group 4 (20,000-29,999 people) in 2015, according to the state.
The state has not yet determined what the actual salaries will be for the clerk, county judge, jailer, and sheriff for 2015. However, if Marion County was in Group 4 this year, those officials would be paid $87,997.06.
Brady and Clements do not face any opposition in their re-election bids.
Chad Mattingly is running unopposed for County Clerk, and Judge/Executive Mattingly is retiring at the end of this year, which means Marion County will have a new judge/executive in 2015. David Daugherty and Doug Mattingly are running for county judge in the Democratic primary. Unless an independent or write-in candidate runs in November, the winner of the Democratic primary will be guaranteed to become the next county judge.
According to the 2014 state salary schedule, first-year county judges and county clerks in Group 4 would receive $79,197.35.
Democrat Chad Mattingly is the only candidate for county clerk, and he will begin at step one under the state guidelines.
County Property Valuation Administrator Terry “Catfish” Rakes, also a Democrat, is running up unopposed as well. County PVA salaries are determined by state law in KRS 132.590, and like the county officials mentioned above, the PVA salaries are based on the county’s population and the official’s years of service.
Assuming he remains unchallenged in November, Rakes will begin his fifth year as PVA in 2015.
As mentioned above, Marion County is in Group 3 this year, and a PVA on step 4 (three or more years of service) is to be paid $57,765 in 2014, according to state law.
If Marion County was in Class 4 this year, Rakes’ salary would be $61,891, according to the state salary schedule.
Recently, the fiscal court also set the 2015 salaries for the county attorney, magistrates and coroner for 2015.
According to the fiscal court’s May 1 resolution, the county attorney will receive $3,600 per month, or $43,200 per year. Democrat Lisa Nally-Martin, who has been the assistant county attorney, is the only candidate who has filed to run for that office.
The coroner will receive $625 per month, or $7,500 in 2015. Coroner Dick Moraja, the Democratic incumbent, does not have any opposition from either party heading into the primary.
Each magistrate will receive $800 per month, or $9,600 in 2015.
Incumbent First District Magistrate Jackie Wicker has two challengers, Bobby Hardin Jr. and Monty Ray Mullins, in the Democratic primary. Likewise, incumbent Third District Magistrate Roger “Cotton” Smothers is facing challenges from Craig Bishop and Dudley Friend Adle in the Democratic primary.
The remaining incumbent magistrates Larry Caldwell (Second District), Steve Masterson (Fourth District) and John Arthur Elder III (Fifth District) do not have any opposition at this time.

Judiciary/courts
The salaries for circuit and district judges and circuit court clerks are determined based on their years of service in that position. Salary information for these offices came from the website of the Administrative Office of the Courts (http://goo.gl/KFzumf).
The judicial races on the ballot will not be decided until November.
Two seats are up for election in the Third District Court of Appeals. First Division Judge Michael O. Caperton is facing a challenge from Debra Hembree Lambert, while Second Division Judge James H. Lambert is facing opposition from Paul F. Henderson.
According to the AOC information, the sitting appellate judges will be paid $130,048 each in 2014. Caperton has been an appellate judge for 20 years, and Judge Lambert has been in his seat for seven years.
Circuit Judge Allan Ray Bertram, 11th Judicial District, Second Division, does not have any opposition in his bid for re-election. Judge Dan Kelly, 11th Judicial District, First Division, is retiring at the end of this year, and attorneys Todd Spalding of Lebanon and Tim Cocanougher of Springfield are running to fill Kelly’s seat.
According to the AOC information, each circuit judge will receive $124,618 in 2014. Bertram has 15 years of experience in his position, and Kelly has been in his seat for five years.
The district judges in the 11th District, Amy Sullivan Anderson (first division) and Connie Anderson Phillips (second division), do not have any opposition in their bids for re-election. The 2014 salary for each district judge is $112,668. Anderson has seven years of experience in her seat, and Phillips has been in office for 20 years.
And according to information available through court.ky.gov, Marion Circuit Clerk Kim May’s salary for 2014 is $75,253. May does not have any opposition in the primary in her bid for re-election.