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Arkansas legislative subcommittee OKs Sanders’ request for salary increases, new position classifications

by Will Langhorne, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The Personnel Subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee on Thursday approved requests for five positions in the Governor’s Office with new classifications and salary increases for state department secretaries and deputy directors.

None of the salary hikes for department heads or new classifications for Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ staff would require allocations of more taxpayer dollars, said Kay Barnhill, state personnel director.

The joint panel approved a requested salary of $225,000 for Kristi Putnam, secretary of the Department of Human Services. The requested amount is $23,300 more than the annual salary of former Secretary Mark White, who served under former Gov. Asa Hutchinson, according to the state’s transparency website.

Subcommittee members endorsed a salary of $250,000 for Jacob Oliva, head of the Arkansas Department of Education. State records show Oliva’s predecessor, Johnny Key, had a salary of $239,361.

For Hugh McDonald, secretary of the state Department of Commerce, subcommittee members approved a salary of $225,000. Mike Preston, former head of the department, had an annual salary of $168,047.

Barnhill noted Preston received a roughly $50,000 bonus a year because he also served as the director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. McDonald will not hold both positions.

The subcommittee approved a salary of $210,000 for Joe Profiri, secretary of the state Department of Corrections. Solomon Graves, who held the position under Hutchinson, received a salary of $170,276, according to the state’s transparency website.

Read the full article HERE.

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