Appointments for Independent Citizens Commission Announced

The seven appointments for the Independent Citizens Commission, which will decide the salaries for all elected state officials, were announced Wednesday morning.

The commission was created after voters approved Issue 3 in November. The issue, which passed with more than 52 percent of the vote, extended term limits for state legislators, barred gifts from lobbyists to certain state officials, and created the independent commission to set salaries for elected officials.

Appointments were made by Gov. Mike Beebe, the Arkansas Senate, the Arkansas House of Representatives and Chief Justice Jim Hannah.

Beebe presided Wednesday over the official launch of the Arkansas Research Alliance Fellows program, and told reporters following the event that he had "no expectations" for the commission to make any salary changes for elected officials.

"Salary ought not to be your No. 1 reason for running for public office anyway," he said. "If it is, then you've got the wrong folks running." 

The appointees are as follows:

Gov. Mike Beebe's Appointees

  • Barbara Graves, Little Rock, retired businesswoman
  • Larry Ross, Sherwood, president of Ross Consulting LLC

Senate Appointees

  • Stuart Hill, Searcy, vice president and treasurer of White County Medical Center
  • Brenda James, Little Rock, math coach in the Little Rock School District

House Appointees

  • Mitch Berry, Little Rock, attorney at Dyke & Winzerling PLC
  • Stephen Tipton, Cabot, regional vice president of Centennial Bank

Chief Justice Jim Hannah's Appointees

  • Chuck Banks, Little Rock, senior partner at Banks Law Firm PLLC

The appointments expire Nov. 5, 2018. Appointees are not allowed to serve more than two four-year terms on the commission.

As stated in the amendment, the commission's first meeting must occur within 45 days of the effective date, Nov. 4. The commission will conduct a review of all salaries and file any salary adjustments with the state auditor. Salary adjustments will take effect 10 days after filing.

More: Read the entire amendment here (PDF).

Initial adjustments, whether increased or diminished, will be unlimited. However, all future salary adjustments cannot exceed 15 percent. The commission must provide recommendations on per diem, and expense and mileage reimbursements for state lawmakers within 90 days of Nov. 4.

In the future, the commission must provide those recommendations no later than 90 days before the commencement of a regular session.

The commission will elect a chair. A majority vote is required for any action of the commission. 

Following the initial review, the commission can meet as it sees necessary, but must meet at least one time a year. Commission members will receive $85 per day for attending meetings or conducting any business of the commission.

Below are the current salaries for elected officials the commission will now be responsible for setting:

  • Governor (Mike Beebe) — $87,759
  • Lt. Governor (Vacant) — $42,315
  • Attorney General (Dustin McDaniel) — $73,132
  • Secretary of State (Mark Martin) — $54,848
  • Treasurer (Charles Robinson) — $54,848
  • Auditor (Charlie Daniels) — $54,848
  • Land Commissioner (John Thurston) — $54,848
  • State legislators — $15,869
  • Speaker of the House (Davy Carter) — $17,771
  • Senate President (Jonathan Dismang) — $17,771
  • Chief Justice of Supreme Court (Jim Hannah) — $161,601
  • Associate Justices of Supreme Court — $149,589
  • Chief Judge of Court of Appeals (Robert Gladwin) — $147,286
  • Court of Appeals Judge — $144,982
  • Circuit Judge — $140,372
  • District Judge — $125,495