COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — State agency directors and college presidents in South Carolina are getting a combined salary boost of $640,300 following votes Tuesday by a legislative panel, which represent their first state-provided raises in five years.
The Agency Head Salary Commission approved 7 percent salary increases for agency directors and technical college presidents, and 8 percent raises for presidents of four-year public colleges and universities.
The increases go to 72 people whose salaries, prior to Tuesday, ranged from $64,628 for the Commission on Minority Affairs director, to $265,000 for part of the University of South Carolina president's salary.
The pay boosts take effect immediately and are not retroactive to the fiscal year's start. The raises are the first approved by the panel since 2007, said Budget and Control Board spokeswoman Lindsey Krimlick.
Most state employees received 3 percent raises in the current budget. Legislators provided 5 percent raises for state law enforcement officers earning less than $50,000. Those were state employees' first raises in four years.
Money for those raises was designated in the budget. Directors' pay bumps were not. Agencies must find money for that within their budgets.
USC President Harris Pastides' state-provided salary represents only part of his pay. Other sources boost it to $600,000. The university's board of trustees voted last month to ask the school's foundation to increase it to $724,000 a year.
The Agency Head Salary Commission consists of four senators, four House members and three gubernatorial appointees. Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, voted against the 8 percent raises for university presidents.
Tom Hatfield, who was appointed by former Gov. Mark Sanford, voted against all three proposals, saying it's not fair considering the raises for state employees.
"They got 3 percent, these people are getting 7. I don't see how that equates to being equal," Hatfield told The State newspaper, adding that the directors' salaries are already substantial. "These people are not, what I would call, 'hurting.'"