JACKSON – Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant has received an extra $50,000 over the past three years for serving as “acting governor” during Gov. Haley Barbour’s absences.
The Clarion-Ledger reports that by law, Bryant gets an extra $7.50 an hour to fill in for the governor. Bryant’s annual salary is $60,000.
Bryant said he asked the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration in January about the potential of cutting the pay in half.
MDFA spokeswoman Kym Wiggins said the agency received Bryant’s request, but “the law provides the lieutenant governor ‘shall’ receive this payment. Therefore DFA could not accommodate the lieutenant governor’s request.”
The constitutional change would require voter approval.
In January alone, Bryant earned $8,515 in “acting governor pay,” MDFA records show, as Barbour was traveling into early primary and caucus states considering a run for president that he recently decided against.
Barbour spent half of 2010 traveling outside of Mississippi, but he is “doing his job” and always reachable even when he’s gone, aides have said.
When both Barbour and Bryant are absent, Senate President Pro Tem Billy Hewes earns $11.09 an hour as acting governor, or House Speaker Billy McCoy makes $5.95 an hour. In 2010, Hewes earned $4,895 in acting governor pay and McCoy $103, according to MDFA.
The Associated Press