By Torey Van Oot and Jim Sanders
At least 93 California legislative employees making more than $100,000 received raises this year, a review of newly released payroll records showed.
While six-figure wage earners represent just a fraction of total legislative staff, the Capitol now has more than 300 employees making more than $100,000.
Forty-seven Senate employees with six-figure salaries received raises between Jan. 31 and June 30 of this year. Six additional employees in that pay range received raises but were promoted or assigned to a new job. Records released to The Bee under the Legislative Open Records Act show that at least 189 employees in the upper house now make six figures or more, a net increase of 15 since Jan. 31.
The Senate salary hikes were part of a yearlong policy that resulted in merit raises of up to 5 percent for roughly 560 of the upper house's 964 staff members. Rhys Williams, a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, said that merit raises totaled about $1.5 million in the past year, with 58 percent of Senate employees receiving a raise.
Some employees received larger percentage hikes because they switched job classifications, recently or in years past, without a pay increase at the time, Williams said Wednesday.
In the Assembly, 46 employees with six-figure salaries received pay increases since Dec. 1 under a directive by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez permitting raises ranging from 3.6 percent to 5 percent for aides whose pay had not risen in three years or more. There have been about 365 raises and about 110 job reclassifications among the Assembly's roughly 1,300 employees.
The lower house now has 130 employees making $100,000 or more -- an increase of 10 since Dec. 1, records show.
Pérez's decision to allow raises after a long pay drought extended to employees of all pay levels, and hundreds have have seen their paychecks rise since the legislative year began Dec. 1.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on Wednesday announced plans to seek a one-year freeze on pay increases in light of the state's ongoing fiscal problems. The Senate had previously frozen pay for four years, from 2007 to 2011. The Assembly has no plans to enact a salary freeze.
Editor's note, 1:36 p.m.: This post has been updated to correct the number of Assembly employees making $100,000 or more.