Some of the Utah Legislature's employees are earning 40 percent less than wages paid to workers in comparable jobs in other states' legislatures, a consultant says.
William Beavers, a private consultant hired by legislative leaders to study the salary levels, reported to the Legislative Management Committee that Utah legislative workers' pay is low, particularly given the average length of service.The survey was ordered several months ago after several legislators, led by House Minority Leader Mike Dmitrich, D-Price, complained that attorneys and other employees in the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel needed immediate pay raises.
Earlier this year, lawmakers increased the salaries of employees of the Legislative Research and General Counsel's Office. The raises came from savings generated in the office and required no extra state appropriations.
But the raises generated controversy because that office was the only one of the six Utah legislative staff offices that received pay increases, and state employees in the executive branch of government have labored for nearly three years under a wage freeze.
Legislative leaders hope to use the data to adjust legislative staff salaries to make them more equitable and comparable with other state and local government agencies.
The survey found that the legislative auditor general makes nearly 12 percent less than the average for top auditors in 15 other states surveyed.
The audit supervisor makes 34 percent less than comparable positions in the other states and the typical working auditor makes 27 percent less.
Fiscal analysts generally make more than fiscal analysts in other state legislatures, with the top position making 7.6 percent more than the average of the other states. Working analysts make 11 to 12 percent more than the average, the survey showed.
However, Beavers pointed out the comparison is somewhat misleading because of the length of service of fiscal analysts in Utah. The entry level position for a fiscal analyst in Utah is nearly 8 percent below the average, he said.
Legal researchers working for the Legislature generally make more than the average of other states, but lawyers in the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel still make up to 22.5 percent less than the average of the 15 states.
An administrative office manager for the Legislature in Utah makes nearly 40 percent below the average, while an office secretary makes 25 percent below the average.
Comparisons varied greatly when other government agencies within Utah were studied.
An audit manager for the Legislature makes 43 percent more than a comparable position in Utah, Salt Lake County or Salt Lake City governments, the survey found, while a working auditor makes 21 percent below the comparable position in those agencies.