FRANKFORT — House Speaker Jody Richards is seeking a special meeting of legislative leaders to reverse a 47 percent pay raise a majority of them approved this week for Legislative Research Commission director Bobby Sherman, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Saturday edition.
Richards, D-Bowling Green, will make the formal request Monday to Sherman, "and there will be a meeting on a date still to be determined," said Richards' aide Brian Wilkerson.
Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, declined to comment on Richards' move. Williams supports the raise and says it is necessary to keep Sherman from retiring and taking an expanded retirement benefit, reports the Herald-Leader.
Richards has said he wants to reverse the $62,160 annual raise leaders approved for Sherman Wednesday on an 11-5 vote after a closed-door meeting.
The speaker is co-sponsoring legislation with Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, to reverse the raise that increases Sherman's annual salary from $132,840 to $195,000, the newspaper reports.
Richards, three other House Democratic leaders and a member of the Senate Democratic leadership voted against the raise. All Republican leaders voted for it. Sherman has declined to comment on the issue.
State Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, sent an e-mail Friday to state workers, saying the raise is "a shameful, unjustifiable waste of taxpayer money."
He said he asked Richards for a special meeting of legislative leaders and the speaker "readily agreed." Graham said his preference would be for Sherman to refuse the pay raise or resign, the newspaper reports.
Richards said in his letter to Graham that he does not favor any raise for Sherman, but if it is considered by legislative leaders, "it should be after leadership elections in January."
"Doing so now, with no public input, sends exactly the wrong message to state employees and the public in general," Richards told the Lexington Herald-Leader.
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