Arizona governor gives raises to aides despite lean budget

Gov. Doug Ducey

Gov. Doug Ducey

PHOENIX (AP) – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has given 44 of his staffers raises of up to 20 percent despite offering teachers increases of less than 1 percent because of a lean budget, according to a newspaper analysis.

The Republican governor gave the majority of his staff a raise, a promotion or both since he took office in 2015, the Arizona Republic reported . The newspaper obtained records from the state Department of Administration regarding raises and promotions given to staff, as well as to Ducey's appointees and other top government executives.

For at least 40 employees whom the governor promoted, their salary increases ranged from 5 to 100 percent. The average raise for a Ducey staffer was 11 percent.

Ducey has also given raises and bonuses to a number of political appointees. The salary of Department of Child Safety Director Greg McKay increased to $215,250, a 33 percent since Ducey took office. Registrar of Contractors Director Jeff Fleetham, who donated to Ducey's campaign, received a nearly 13 percent increase, lifting his pay to $115,000.

The average raise given to 28 agency directors and deputy directors was a little over 10 percent.

Bonuses of $2,000 or more were awarded 26 times to state executives. Six executives received more than one bonus.

Ducey's spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said the raises to staffers and appointees went to individuals "who have really proven themselves and done good work." Scarpinato currently makes $162,000 after receiving a pay increase.

The governor did propose a 2 percent raise over five years for teachers, but lawmakers approved a 2 percent increase over two years.

"He's the one who put the pay raise on the table because he heard from many teachers and parents that that needed to be an area of priority," Scarpinato said.

-Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com