CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Judicial Compensation Commission, created by the legislature, may give state lawmakers a couple of options to consider when looking at pay raises for Supreme Court justices, circuit judges, family court judges and magistrates in next year’s legislative session.

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Greg Bowman

The commission met at the state capitol Tuesday to begin work on its 2019 judicial pay report. There’s another meeting set for Aug. 13. The commission is required to submit its report to the legislature by Sept. 1.

In December 2017, the commission recommended a 5 percent pay increase for justices, circuit judges and magistrates while the recommendation for family court judges was 7 percent. Lawmakers did not take up the report.

Commission chairman, WVU College of Law Dean Greg Bowman proposed Tuesday giving lawmakers a couple of options to increase pay. He said there could be one raise or a multi-year raise that would equal the same amount.

“It’s essentially a way to get to the same result two different ways,” Bowman said.

The commission didn’t talk specifics about how much of an increase would be recommended.

Bowman also suggested the commission address a concern lawmakers have about the salaries of some judges approaching the salary of the governor. He said first some research needs to take place.

“What happens in other states? What’s the position of a Supreme Court justice salary as opposed to a state governor’s salary in that state? Is the governor above, below or the same?”

The governor’s pay in West Virginia is $150,000 a year. West Virginia Supreme Court justices currently earn $136,000 a year; circuit judges, $126,000; family court judges, $94,500; and magistrates $57,500.

The Judicial Compensation Commission was formed during the 2016 legislative session.

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