Extra pay for extra titles abounds in legislature

Despite already outnumbering rank-and-file members, Connecticut's legislative leadership grew this year to 99 leaders in the 187-member General Assembly.

Each legislator with a leadership title gets a small pay increase. Twenty-seven committee chairmen and 19 ranking members also get pay bumps, leaving only 42 House members to earn the base pay of $28,000.

The total cost of additional pay is $686,405.

The added pay leads to a proliferation of titles, including "chief deputy president pro tempore and federal relations liaison" and "deputy minority leader pro tempore and caucus chairman for outreach."

Spokesmen for all four caucuses did not respond to requests for comment.

Recently promoted Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, has seven deputies and three assistant deputies. Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, has seven deputies and 10 assistants.

Minority Leader Larry Cafero, R-Norwalk, has two deputy minority leaders, two "deputy minority leaders-at-large" and 10 assistants.

Every senator earns more than $28,000 and only three members are not in the leadership, Sens. Danté Bartolomeo, D-Meriden; Joe Markley, R-Southington; and Cathy Osten, D-Sprague.

The committee structure is partly to blame for higher pay in the Senate. There are 26 committees, ensuring that most, if not all, senators chair a committee or serve as a ranking member.

In the House, 30 Democrats and 12 Republicans earn the base salary.

Senate Democrats have 20 leadership positions, with two added from last session. Senate Republicans have 13, adding one.

House Democrats have 45 leadership positions, up two from 2011, and one additional member getting paid for being a committee chairman.

In the 2011 session, the General Assembly had 94 leaders. In 2009, there were 109 leaders.

Zachary Janowski does investigative research for the Connecticut conservative advocacy group, The Yankee Institute, and is the founding editor of its media project/blog Raising Hale (www.raisinghale.com). He lives in Plantsville.

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