Strayhorn decides not to take the pay raise

Christy Hoppe -- Dallas Morning News:

A $33,000 raise caused a rise in the governor's race.

Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who indicated last week that she would accept the 35 percent raise authorized but not funded by the Legislature, said Tuesday that she wouldn't take the money after all.

"Although Gov. Perry sanctioned pay increases for statewide elected officials when he approved the state budget, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to accept a penny more for the work I was elected to do," Mrs. Strayhorn said.

The comptroller, who is challenging Rick Perry for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, was among seven statewide elected officials authorized to find money in their agencies to boost their own salaries from $92,000 to $125,000. Her decision followed criticism from Mr. Perry's campaign.


The holiday weekend gave Mrs. Strayhorn a chance to study the situation, too, and she changed her mind, spokesman Mark Sanders said.

"Her focus has been on her announcement [to run for governor] and dealing with Perry's horribly inept attempt to deal with the public school funding crisis," he said. "She looked at it over the weekend and called today to say she's not accepting it."

Last week, Mr. Perry's campaign uncovered Strayhorn comments from 1997, when she became eligible for a raise while serving on the Railroad Commission.

At the time, she was quoted saying that an election was a bond between herself and the people. "I knew what the terms were. And I say very strongly, if they have pay raises to hand out, it ought to be going to the teachers of this state," she had said.


"She has ripped a page out of Senator [John] Kerry's flip-flop manual, being for the pay raise before she was against it," he said.

The governor's office was initially included in the Legislature's bid to give statewide lawmakers a raise, but Mr. Perry declined to be included. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's salary is set by the state constitution at $7,200, the same as legislators.

I've got to give credit to Mr. Saenz for the Kerry quote. It's a good sound bite.

"...Mr. Perry declined to be included," in this case means that Perry told legislators to exclude the governor from the pay raise authorization. This of course creates an interesting situation: all statewide executive branch offices will now pay more than the governor.

Mark Sanders, Strayhorn's spokesman (quoted in the article, but not excerpted here), was previously the spokesman for Tony Sanchez's failed campaign to unseat Governor Perry in 2002.

Posted by Evan @ 07/06/05 12:06 AM


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