CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia county elected officeholders who haven’t received a pay raise in nearly eight years hope lawmakers will consider an increase in next year’s legislative session.

A legislative interim committee composed of senators and delegates discussed the possibility Monday during a meeting at the state capitol.

West Virginia Association of Counties Executive Director Patti Hamilton said the group—made up of county and circuit clerks, prosecutors, assessors, commissioners and sheriffs—hasn’t sought incremental pay increases from state lawmakers.

“We have not been asking for small, regular increases,” she said. “(Raises) tend to be infrequent, so they tend to look large until you look at what the cost of living has increased over the last eight years, and then they look pretty reasonable.”

Del. Mike Caputo (D-Marion) said it’s unfortunate lawmakers often choose not to increase salaries in steps, because it later catches up with them.

“We’ve waited so long that it seems like we’re blowing up everybody’s salary and that’s a problem we’ve always had in the legislature, whether it’s our salaries or our other public officials,” Caputo said. “I would be more favorable to (incremental) pay increases.”

Hamilton said county officeholders would probably support that also but not until they get a significant bump first.

“Unfortunately for this time period that ship has sailed,” she told lawmakers. “We did wait six years (before asking for a raise) and now this is the eighth year.”

Former Logan County commissioner and current state Senator Art Kirkendoll (D-Logan) said officeholders merit a raise, but the discussion must focus on a reasonable increase.

“You can’t bring a legislative group up here for someone that makes $36,500 and propose a $10,000 raise—that’s not going to fly,” Kirkendoll predicted. “Even an officeholder wouldn’t accept that kind of money if he planned on running for re-election. The public wouldn’t buy that.”

State law says only the legislature can approve pay increase for county constitutional officeholders but the money comes from increased county tax revenues. Counties have to be able to show they have the money before the raises can take effect.

The interim committee said it would discuss the issue more later this year.

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  • Brian

    It's funny everyone is lining up Teachers, Sept 22, todays news County Officeholders, and I still go to work everyday 5 days a week, sometimes 6 or 7 or double shifts and I can't get a raise..............

  • BAC

    Just remember, you get what you pay for. Low salaries do not draw good candidates for public office. University faculty salaries are also woefully low in most cases.

    • Nick

      University faculty salaries are low....OLE MY GOD....they have no pressure what so ever. They should have been a doctor or engineer. The cost of tuition keeps going up. My wife bought a course book that was $245 dollars. If you don't like it switch careers. America is hurting. Seniors is hurting. Everyone else is hurting. Live within our means...

      • BAC

        Have you checked faculty salaries at colleges and universities? They are dismally low, especially when you consider that a PhD is in his thirties before he finishes his own training. Administrators do well, yes, but not the teachers. And have no pressure? Not at a real university--they have to write books constantly, plus many other duties. (And no, I'm not a teacher, but rather a lawyer who is paid far more for less work than a college prof. has to do!)

  • DWL

    What have they done for their constituents? NOTHING but increase our taxes. SCREW THEM. Learn to live within our means.

    • wvtd

      how true. let these so called leaders eat cake. go get food stamps if you are not making enough money. if anything these elected officials need a pay decrease.

  • WV Worker

    Of course, the first order of business is give the Co. Elected Officials raises. They are not only county commissioners but the sheriff, county clerk and county assessors, circuit clerks, then we move to the elected magistrates, judges and of course the teachers. No where is the State workers, I mean the ones that work for a living, without perks of cars, gas and larger salaries that are just passed over year after year. Most live below the poverty line, but work everyday, pay bills, send their kids to school, drive used cars and trucks and only hear we don't have enough money. But the bunch of elected officials in Charleston can find money for every dam thing they want. Then have the nerve to ask for more toll money, more vehicle tax money, but no money for state worker raises. Why is that? We are classified as 3rd world tenants . Where're needed to do every day work, clean ditches, clean floors, take insults from drug users, dead beat parents, people who want their electric and water bills paid, hand out thousands of dollars to people who is too sorry to work or wouldn't work in a pie factory, but we're not good enough for a cost of living raise. WHY NOT. We deserve some money and respect.

    • Nick

      State workers are lazy and overpaid as it is. I do not want my taxes to be increased so you all can buy a new SUV. We see how slow you all are and how many breaks you take.


        I'm sure this doesn't apply to all DOH state workers, but read on......we recently had our county road shoulder graded and some rock ledges removed so we finally have a shoulder now on the road. Each day, this was the scenario as the local DOH workers completed the project. 1. They arrived each day about 8:30AM (the site is about 5 miles from the local shop) with the dump trucks and multiple pickups. The grader and backhoe was repositioned. They sat around in groups drinking coffee until 9:30 to 10:00AM and then began to setup signs and flagging operations. Then they finally starting digging and grading about 10:30AM. At 11:45 it was lunch time! So they stopped and took lunch and didn't resume work until 1PM. Then at 2:15PM, they packed up and left for the shop. It took them 4 weeks to grade one shoulder and remove some small rock abutments on a 1 mile stretch of road. It was the most ridiculous state project we have ever watched. All my neighbors have continuously commented how poorly supervised and managed our state workers are these days. Thre were at least 12 workers there each day, most standing around. On some days we saw at least 14 guys, again most standing around while very few were working hard or at all. The state could have contracted this job for a lot less than pay and benefits for these employees and got it done in a week. Our DOH and most state employees are not paid well. I get that part. But it is a job. Everyone is still talking about how ridiculous it was to observe this job for almost three weeks. So the old joke of 6 state workers standing around watching 1 guy work is alive and well.

        • WVWorker

          It looks like you don't have anything to do if you have time to sit around all day and watch what other people are doing.
          Get a job and get a life

          • WV Worker

            I think you mean WVIRGINIAN FOR LIFE not WV Worker, I for one don't have time to watch other people, I work from 7 till 3 , 7 to 7 or 11 to 7, 11 till 11 and other shifts. I work 8hr shifts and 12 hour shifts

    • WorkerBee

      If it weren't for us workers the state would not have that"rainy day fund". It's because of state workers that the state has that fund. All of the Federal grant money the state has gotten is because we workers are the ones who meet the Federal guidelines. NOT any politicians or agency heads. But, we don't get rewarded - they hire buddies or family members and give them a liveable salary.
      The State of WV wouldn't keep going if it weren't for us. trust me if it were left up to the bigwigs the state would collapse.

    • Joe

      WVWorker - this is probably the best summary I have ever read on this issue.

      I am not a state worker, but please know thete are many of us who respect the collective hard work of the stateworkers, and is why some of us respond so forcefully back when reading artcles like above.

      I honestly cannot fathom how this is even an issue to be discussed now, when the state force has not seen a raise, step raise, perks for performance....nothing....for years.

      It is simply a disgrace.

      Of course, the WVEA announced their Campaign for Salaries initiative today in Charleston. Who do you think will get the raises?!

      Hang in there, and keep punching.


  • Joe

    Commish - what do you think of WVforLife's idea above to discontinue the taxpayer-paid automobile perk and the significant savings resulting from it?!

  • Commish

    Not all elected officials are requesting this raise. This is a position that the WV Association of Counties has taken on the issue. They are only one lobbying group that represents County Commissioners in this state. I believe that the County Commissioners Association of West Virginia has taken the position to NOT request any increase in salaries during the current legislative session.

    • jm

      They should not get one. Most counties have an administrator that runs the day to day operations of a county. The commissioners are required only to attend a minimal number of meeting in a year (not all) and get paid to meet once per week (some counties I am told only meet every other week). AND for that they get paid over 30k.

      Giving the benefit of the doubt on the following figures.......... 30k per year - 12 months per year - 4 weeks (4 meetings) per month, 4 hours per meeting = $156.25 per hour...........pretty good pay.....

    • Commish

      And no, not all County Commissioners are crooks. Some are just hard working folks who want to try and make their communities a better place to live, work and raise a family.

      • wvtd

        then get a job and stop being a parasite to the tax payers. you people do not mind raising our property taxes so you can waste it on something. so no raise until property tax is lowered. sound like a fair trade? not to a political hack.

  • Spell Checker

    In this former voter's opinion, county commissioners don't earn their keep now. All they do is get their county fair pictures on the front page of the local gossip rag, smile for the camera, lament the loss of jobs, and prepare for the next election cycle. Every dadgum one is a crook--some make it harder to catch than others.

    • Marshall

      Then why don't you run for the job? If you are going to accuse someone of being a crook you would do well to have some proof. And....if you don't vote, as is implied when you call yourself a "former voter", your opinion does not matter.

      • Spell Checker

        Sorry Marshall, I'm just too honest to run for a county post that serves no purpose. Yes I am a former voter. I have cast a ballot in every election since 1972. We both know our local elected officials play the same "smoke-filled room" games as our national figures, only on a much smaller scale. Yet these clowns want a raise? I refuse to be a party to any of it. I am simply demonstrating the same level of honesty I expect of others. Look at the shameful state of our county, state, and federal governments.

        And we want people to have a voice in government? I have chosen to not "matter" and I am at peace with that decision.

        With regards to the accusation of "crooks", LBJ said years ago before the age of political correctness: "You don't have to see the scalps to know that Injuns were scalpers". Most local politicians are as crooked as a dog's hind leg--we all know that without any proof being necessary. I accept that and have chosen to disenfranchise myself. By all means continue to live with the illusion of making a difference. I choose not to do so.

        Good luck with this "voting" thing. I have decided to trust in God's sovereignty and grace.

  • Jim N Charleston

    Have former Lincoln & current Mingo County officials (some currently in prison and some on the way) do traveling workshops.

    Guarantee ya they'll learn how to make more $$$$$ in their county jobs.


    Well here is an about discontinuing the perk of allowing state and county employees to take vehicles home at nite. Most are NOT required to respond to anything but grocery shopping, picking kids up at school, running errands, etc. time to stop this ridiculous and costly state practice, Just think how much taxpayers money would be saved on gas, maintenance, etc. then we could give every state employee a raise.

    • Dennis


      • Dennis

        Why would the employee need a raise...figure out how much money they save on gas and car insurance. I know some officers that don't have a family car and use cruisers for about everything. That should be considered in the budget and gave them pay something or a per centsge of gas and insurance

  • jm

    Join the boat elected officials.... State employees have also not had a pay raise. We are hurting as much or more than you are.

    • WorkerBee

      Most State workers have not had a pay raise in 6 years years, DHHR hired a new secretary at $185,000. Clerical workers(office assistants)have a salary of around $18,000 and the salary for food stamp/Medicaid workers is only a little more than $23,000. And, DOP does not negotiate salaries. They start at $18,000 or $23,000 and that's it...nothing more, nothing less. No raises, no merit pay ever. Of course, the new secretary is from the same county as the Governor...go figure.