- Associated Press - Monday, May 18, 2015

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Elected state officials in Montana from the governor to district judges will receive automatic pay raises on July 1 based on average salaries from surrounding states.

Legislators do not receive the raises based on a 1995 state law that adjusts salaries every odd year.

The amounts are derived by averaging the results of a survey of elected officials’ pay taken the previous year in Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, Lee Newspapers of Montana reported.

Montana Supreme Court Justice Mike McGrath will be the highest-paid elected official in the state when his salary increases nearly 9 percent to $137,570. The six other Supreme Court Justices are receiving a 9 percent hike to $136,181 each.

Attorney General Tim Fox’s salary will go up 6.6 percent to $123,499, while Gov. Steve Bullock will receive a 3.1 percent increase to $111,570.

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch and State Auditor Monica Lindeen each will see their pay rise by 4.7 percent to $92,236 annually. The salaries for Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau and Lt. Gov. Angela McLean will remain unchanged.

Public Service Commission Chairman Brad Johnson will see his salary go to $101,772 for a 3.7 percent increase, while the other four public service commissioners each will get 2.9 percent pay raises to increase their salaries to $100,819 each.

Salaries for the 46 district judges around Montana will go up 7.3 percent to $126,132 and Supreme Court Clerk Ed Smith will get a 7.9 percent raise to $96,658.

“We’re usually between 49th and 51st in the country,” Supreme Court administrator Beth McLaughlin said of judges’ pay. “We’ve very pleased with the salary increase this time because it moves us up above 51st.”

Last year, the Montana governor’s salary ranked 40th among all states and the attorney general’s was 28th, according to a comparison by the Council of State Governments in its “Book of the States.”

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