Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin gave $215K raise to an old Army buddy

Courier Journal

When Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin wanted a new state chief information officer, he didn't do a national search — he hired an old Army buddy and longtime business associate last October at a salary that now leads the nation for similar state jobs.

Some Kentucky lawmakers were stunned last month when the Courier Journal reported that Bevin gave Charles E. Grindle a $215,000 pay raise on Aug. 1 — a highly unusual 134 percent increase after less than a year on the job. The raise also came four months after the passage of a state budget that included no pay increases for more than 42,000 Kentucky public school teachers and most of the state's nearly 30,000 state workers.

Meredith McGehee, a government ethics expert and strategic adviser for the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, said Grindle's salary may be an issue for voters but appears legal. McGehee noted that the legislature, which is responsible for government oversight and spending, approved the elimination of the pay cap.“It’s more of a political question, right, about whether or not paying a state official that much money — over $300,000 — is what the citizens of Kentucky believe is merited," McGehee said.

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