Commissioner Expects Pay Cut Because of Ruling 

The Associated Press - December 9, 1998

The Oklahoma Supreme Court says the Legislature erred when it passed a law in 1995 giving pay raises to Corporation Commission members. 

Now, Corporation Commissioners Bob Anthony and Ed Apple may have to take pay cuts. 

"Asking this question will cost me $ 25,000. But then I can have a clear conscience," Anthony said Wednesday. His salary would be reduced $ 12,000 annually. 

Sarah Penn, administrative aide and attorney for Apple, said she thought Apple's salary would be cut by $ 6,000 because of the opinion. 

Commissioner Denise Bode's salary isn't expected to be affected because she is in a new term. All three commissioners had a base salary of $ 82,000. 

Anthony's and Apple's salaries would revert to what they were when they began their new terms. Anthony and Ms. Penn said it was their understanding the ruling is not retroactive and the commissioners wouldn't have to give any money back. 

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the salary legislation violated a constitutional ban against raising salaries of public officials during their current terms. 

The ruling stems from a 1997 opinion by Attorney General Drew Edmondson that the constitution prohibited Anthony and Cody Graves from getting raises during their terms. 

Anthony raised the salary question. Graves' salary would have been cut from $ 76,000 to $ 50,000 annually, which was the salary when he was elected in 1992. Anthony's would have been rolled back from $ 76,000 to $ 70,000 then, which was the salary he was earning when he was elected in 1994. Graves resigned. 

Edmondson's opinion was appealed and Oklahoma County District Judge Bryan C. Dixon ruled that the pay raises were constitutional. Edmondson appealed to the Supreme Court. 

Voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment last month to permit raising salaries of corporation commissioners and state tax commissioners.

© 1998 Associated Press

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