State Politics

Four judges would get pay hikes in Senate budget

Appeals court Judge Phil Berger Jr.
Appeals court Judge Phil Berger Jr. N&O

A provision in the Senate’s proposed budget would allow judges who previously presided over administrative hearings to include that time in calculating their longevity pay.

The proposal would boost pay for four former administrative law judges:

  • N.C. Court of Appeals Judge Phil Berger Jr. – the son of Senate leader Phil Berger – would receive two years additional credit.
  • Special Superior Court Judge Beecher Reynolds Gray would receive 29 years credit.
  • Supreme Court Justice Mike Morgan would get five years.
  • District Court Judge Craig Croom would add one year.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Berger said he was not involved in the budget provision.

There are no across-the-board raises for judges in the Senate’s budget proposal.

State employees receive an annual longevity payment after a certain length of service; the amount increases to a maximum of 4.5 percent of their salary.

Judges receive longevity pay monthly up to a maximum of 24 percent. Gray would qualify for the maximum increase.

District attorneys and members of the state Utilities Commission who become judges currently can add the years they were in that service to their longevity pay. But administrative law judges have not been able to do the same.

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO