Berger, Moore gave 3 staffers a 20%-plus raise since 2017

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY COLIN CAMP­BELL ccamp­[email protected]­sider.com

Se­nate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore have seen a lot of turnover on their staffs since 2017, but some of the staffers who stuck around have been re­warded with pay in­creases of 20 to 50 per­cent.

The NC In­sider com­pared cur­rent salary records for the pres­i­dent pro tem’s of­fice and speaker’s of­fice with records from Jan­uary 2017, at the be­gin­ning of the last bi­en­nium. The records show pay in­creases vary­ing sig­nif­i­cantly among staffers who have kept the same job titles for the past two years.

By con­trast, most state em­ploy­ees re­ceived a $1,000 raise in 2017 and a 2 per­cent raise in 2018.

The big­gest raise went to one of Moore’s pol­icy ad­vi­sors, Lewis King, who saw his pay jump 50 per­cent from 2017 to an an­nual salary of $85,672.

His raise was larger than those granted to two other em­ploy­ees who were in their jobs in 2017: com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Joseph Kyzer re­ceived a 12 per­cent raise to $ 75,900, and di­rec­tor of boards, com­mis­sions and con­stituent ser­vices Ju­lia Lisella re­ceived a 13 per­cent raise to $ 75,789.

Asked about King’s salary in­crease, Kyzer said the ad­vi­sor’s “role has ex­panded con­sid­er­ably the last two years into work­ing on ma­jor bud­get mat­ters and cov­er­ing a wide va­ri­ety of leg­isla­tive pol­icy in­clud­ing be­ing the Speaker’s pri­mary ad­vi­sor for en­vi­ron­men­tal, reg­u­la­tory, and en­ergy is­sues. ... Lewis King is one of the long­est serv­ing pol­icy staffers in the North Carolina House and has been here for nearly six years dat­ing back to Speaker Thom Til­lis’ ten­ure. He ad­vises leg­isla­tive lead­ers on a broad va­ri­ety of state gov­ern­ment sec­tors, led dis­as­ter re­cov­ery and reg­u­la­tory re­form leg­is­la­tion, and has im­mense in­sti­tu­tional ex­per­tise about state pol­icy and the leg­isla­tive process.”

Berger’s of­fice has six staffers who have been in their roles since early 2017. Three of them saw their pay in­crease 16 to 30 per­cent, while three oth­ers had pay in­creases of less than 5 per­cent.

The big­gest in­crease went to ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant Dar­rell Mal­colm, whose pay rose 30 per­cent to $100,621. Re­search as­sis­tant and para­le­gal Kolt Ulm in­creased 22 per­cent to $81,600. And re­search as­sis­tant and para­le­gal David “Gra­ham” Whi­taker in­creased 16.3 per­cent to $45,900.

Mean­while, re­search as­sis­tant and para­le­gal Pa­tri­cia Berger (Sen. Berger’s wife) re­ceived a 4.6 per­cent raise, leg­isla­tive clerk Wanda Shivers re- ceived a 4.6 per­cent raise, and deputy chief of staff for pol­icy Erica Shrader re­ceived a 3 per­cent raise.

Asked if the em­ploy­ees with big­ger raises had seen changes in job re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, Berger spokesman Pat Ryan said “we can’t com­ment on per­son­nel mat­ters in­volv­ing spe­cific em­ploy­ees. In gen­eral, we in­crease salaries to re­flect ad­di­tional job re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, more prom­i­nent roles, and to re­tain tal­ented em­ploy­ees, as would any pru­dent em­ployer.”

Over­all, Berger’s to­tal salary bud­get in­creased more than Moore’s be­tween Jan­uary 2017 and Jan­uary 2019.

Moore’s staff salaries cur­rently to­tal $1.09 mil­lion, a 4.4 in­crease from 2017. Berger’s staff salaries to­tal $1.25 mil­lion, an in­crease of 16.6 per­cent since 2017. Berger has a to­tal of 16 staffers, up from 15 two years ago, while Moore has 14, ex­clud­ing in­terns.

Ryan said the salary bud­get in­crease in Berger’s of­fice is be­cause of the var­i­ous merit raises and “be­cause we have more em­ploy­ees today com­pared to the last time you looked into this mat­ter.”

Berger has six staffers who earn more than $100,000, while Moore has three.

ETHAN HYMAN ehy­[email protected]­sob­server.com

N.C. Se­nate Pres­i­dent Pro Tem Phil Berger, left, and N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore

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