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Bill Would Scale Back State Chief Information Officer's $375k Paycheck

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin speaks about the upcoming legislative session at the Kentucky Chamber Day Dinner in Lexington, Ky., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin speaks about the upcoming legislative session at the Kentucky Chamber Day Dinner in Lexington, Ky., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019.

Kentucky lawmakers took their first step Tuesday toward slashing the salary of the state's highly-paid chief information officer, a longtime associate of Governor Matt Bevin.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin speaks about the upcoming legislative session at the Kentucky Chamber Day Dinner in Lexington, Ky., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019.
Credit AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
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Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin speaks about the upcoming legislative session at the Kentucky Chamber Day Dinner in Lexington, Ky., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019.

Brought online as the state's information technology chief in 2017, Charles Grindle has taken home a six-figure salary that's raised eyebrows in Frankfort. Thanks in part to a $215,000 raise last year, Grindle was ranked as the highest paid CIO in the nation by the Council of State Governments.

Bevin has defended the choice, arguing Grindle could earn far more in the private sector if he chose, and the Finance and Administration Cabinet says the state has saved millions under his leadership. But lawmakers in the governor's own party worry the $375,000 paycheck is excessive.

"We're clearly underpaying him relative to his value, certainly not only the commonwealth but what he could do outside of the commonwealth as well. So I feel grateful that we're getting him for such a low cost," the governor said.

Republican Rep. Bam Carney is pushing a bill that would rein in the salary, but he doesn't see it as a knock on Bevin.

"It's not necessarily a hit at the governor," he told reporters. "This is an issue that deals with one particular job, that I feel like taxpayers... are paying more than maybe necessarily they need to."

Carney's bill would mandate that commonwealth's chief information officer could not be paid more than the highest-paid CIO in the seven states surrounding Kentucky. The measure coasted through committee and was placed on the consent calendar, which allows for fast track passage in the House.

Copyright 2019 WUKY

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now known as Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and Program Director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.