For the ninth consecutive year, 4th District State Sen. Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley) is donating his legislative pay raise to Delaware charities. Since 2005, when state legislators received a salary increase without having to cast a vote for it, Sen. Lavelle has contributed almost $35,000. He was a member of the House for 12 years before being elected to the Senate last year.
"Aside from benefiting the worthy work of some very good nonprofit groups, this action is intended to call attention to an ethically-challenged system that allows legislators to receive a raise without having to be held accountable for the decision," said Sen. Lavelle in a press release.
Established in 1984, the Delaware Compensation Commission meets every four years and considers whether a pay raise is in order for legislators, judges and top officials in the executive branch. This report automatically becomes law unless lawmakers intervene to stop it.
The commission did not recommend salary increases for lawmakers this year, but only after receiving a letter signed by all 22 Republican lawmakers urging the group to forego the idea.
A bill sponsored by Sen. Lavelle, which was assigned to the Senate Executive Committee on Jan. 23 but has yet to receive a vote, would make the commission's report non-binding. T
here was a Senate hearing but the bill remains in "legislative limbo," where no public vote is ever taken and its status is generally unknown to the public as well as legislators, Lavelle said.
Senate Bill 8 changes the name of the Delaware Compensation Commission to the Delaware Salary Survey Commission. If passed, the salary recommendation report issued every four years would become an advisory report which does not bind the governor, the General Assembly, or the Joint Finance Committee. Offices presently covered by the Compensation Commission are expected to generally receive the same pay raises received by general state employees and have done so since at least 2000.
"For years I have sponsored similar legislation in the House, only to see it die in committee time and time again," said Lavelle. "I look forward to working with Senate President Pro Tem Patricia Blevins to finally allow this piece of legislation the attention it deserves. I'll continue to work to convince my colleagues to pay high-ranking state officials in the same fashion as we pay other state employees, through the state budget that's voted on by the General Assembly."
This year's charitable contributions will be split among six organizations that serve the community:
Delaware Museum of Natural History (www.delmnh.org );
B+ Foundation (www.bepositive.org);
Ronald McDonald House of Delaware (www.rmhde.org);
Marshall Steam Museum at Auburn Heights Preserve (www.auburnheights.org);
Cancer Support Community Delaware (www.wellnessdelaware.org);
Page 2 of 2 - Hockessin PAL Center (www.palde.org/home/hockessin-pal-center).