Governor Albert Bryan has raised the salary of DSPR Commissioner Calvert White, triggering salary increases for senators as well. By GOVERNMENT HOUSE
According to law, the salary of senators is tied to the lowest paid commissioner, currently the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation (D.S.P.R.) commissioner, whose salary is $85,000 — the same amount as senators.
For the last 12 years or so, governors have left the D.P.S.R. commissioner's salary at $85,000, and supplements the pay by appointing the commissioner to the West Indian Company (WICO) board. WICO Board members make $1,500 each board meeting, with a minimum of 12 meetings a year. So if the D.S.P.R. commissioner appointed to the WICO board were to attend each of the monthly meetings, this commissioner would earn an additional $18,000 upon the $85,000 earned from the D.S.P.R. commissioner position. That's a total of $103,000 a year for the D.S.P.R. commissioner, and it could be more if more than twelve board meetings are held.
This setup has worked for years. However, Governor Albert Bryan has gone a different route. Instead of appointing D.S.P.R. Commissioner Calvert White to the WICO board, he simply raised Mr. White's pay to $100,000 annually, which is set to take effect in January.
This has triggered the senators' pay increase as well, and an amendment to a non-germane bill by Senator Javan James, which would have decoupled the D.S.P.R. commissioner's salary from the senators', failed during a Wednesday Senate session after the non-germane bill sponsor, Senator Athneil Thomas, pulled the measure from the floor, contending it needed work. This was after the bill had been vetted in two committees of jurisdiction before arriving to the Senate floor.
Voting to remove the non-germane bill from the agenda, which included the amendment that would have stopped the increase of senators' salary from $85,000 to $100,000, were: Senators Allison DeGazon, Myron Jackson, Kurt Vialet, Janelle Sarauw, Stedmann Hodge, Novelle Francis, Marvin Blyden, Frett-Gregory, Steven Payne, and Mr. Thomas.
Voting against removing the bill, which included the amendment that would have stopped the increase of senators' salary, were Senators James, Kenneth Gittens, Oakland Benta and Dwayne DeGraff. Senator Alicia Barnes was absent.