- Associated Press - Saturday, July 12, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Groups representing elected officials in Ohio who haven’t had pay raises in years are hopeful that state lawmakers will increase those officials’ salaries.

Ohio’s trial-court and appellate-court judges have not had a pay raise since at least 2008, The Columbus Dispatch reported (https://bit.ly/1qRS69C). State legislators, county elected officials and township trustees also haven’t seen raises since then.

The pay for those officials is set in Ohio law and can be increased only by a legislative vote. Lawmakers have not taken such a vote in about 14 years, when they voted on a bill providing cost-of-living adjustments for most through 2008.

Groups representing elected officials say they didn’t expect to see pay increases during the recession, but have become more hopeful as Ohio’s economy has shown improvement.

“While elected officials are committed to public service, I think we can all agree that they should be adequately compensated,” said Cheryl Subler, policy director for the County Commissioners Association of Ohio.

Ohio pays the full salary of appeals-court judges and 88 percent or more of the salaries of common pleas judges, with the rest paid by the counties.

“You want to be able to entice and retain the highest-quality professionals to these positions,” said Mark Schweikert, director of the Ohio Judicial Conference.

State Sen. Dave Burke, a Marysville Republican who chairs the State Government Oversight Committee, said he is hearing from some of his counties that they are having trouble finding quality people to run for certain positions, such as county auditor.

Even the conservative Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions isn’t opposed to examining raises as long as they are not automatic for too many years.

“As much as we all love to make fun of politicians sometimes, they have a hard job,” said Greg Lawson, policy analyst for the institute.

A spokeswoman for House Speaker William Batchelder said the leader has not determined what to do about the pay-raise issue.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, https://www.dispatch.com

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