Local charities will benefit from a legislative pay raise given to Senator Greg Lavelle in 2005, as he will again this year donate it. The donation is a protest against the process that gives legislators raises without them having to vote for the increase.
“Why does the Delaware Compensation Commission continues to exist, if its work is to be spurned before it’s even read?” asked Senator Lavelle (R-Sharpley).
Established in 1984, the commission meets every four years to determine if certain state salaries, including those of legislators, judges and the governor, should be increased. The commission’s recommendation then becomes law without a vote from the general assembly unless the legislature votes to reject it. In January, the commission met and made recommendations.
This year, as in 2013, before the commission’s report was even issued, members of the legislature spoke out against it.
“This issue has ‘jumped the shark’ politically. We charge the members of the commission to do the work, reject it before their report is released, and then cast the political blame on them for what we ask them to do,” said Senator Lavelle. “It shows how ludicrous this process has become.”
Senator Lavelle has repeatedly called for changing this system that served a purpose once, but is now outdated. Unless the law is changed, the commission will convene again in the fall of 2020.
In protest of the system, each year Senator Lavelle has donated the raise “given” in 2005 to local charities. In the 13 years he’s done this, he’s contributed almost $45,000. He does this to support local charities, but also to protest the law that can automatically increase legislator’s pay without a vote by the General Assembly.
“While numerous attempts to change the law have been made, they have not been successful. The latest attempt, Senate Bill 14, was introduced in January 2017, but never acted on in the Senate Executive Committee. I made a commitment in 2005 to make these donations and plan to keep doing it not matter what,” Senator Lavelle said.
Legislators still receive pay raises, as all state employees do, if provided for in the budget and voted for by the General Assembly. What Senator Lavelle is trying to eliminate is the potential for further lawmaker pay increases above and beyond what state employees receive, and with no vote required.
“We vote on all sorts of issues and this issue should not be the exception,” Senator Lavelle said.
This year’s charitable contributions will be split among six organizations that serve the community:
•Attack Addiction (Attackaddiction.org)
•Cancer Support Community of Delaware (cancersupportdelaware.org)
•Chinese American Community Center (caccdelaware.org)
•Center for the Creative Arts (ccarts.org)
•Delaware Museum of Natural History (Delmnh.org)
•Delaware Symphony Orchestra (delawaresymphony.org)