PALAU PRESIDENT DEFENDS PAY RAISES

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Budget request would nearly double his salary

By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR (Palau Horizon, July 29) - President Johnson Toribiong justified the request of the Executive Branch to raise his salary and members of his cabinet.

In a letter to Del. Jonathan Isechal , chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means said the justification of the proposal is "fair and logical" and will commensurate the responsibilities of their offices.

The proposal to increase the salaries was included in the Fiscal Year 2010 budget.

The president wants to receive a salary equal to that of the Chief Justice, Vice President to receive a salary equal to an Associate Justice, and the rest of the Ministers to receive salaries equal to the members of the Olbiil Era Kelulau.

The Chief Justice is receiving a salary of US$90,000 annually; Associate Justice receives a salary of US$80,000 while the members of the OEK get US$50,000 a year.

Currently, Toribiong receives US$50,000 annually, Vice President Kerai Mariur receives US$45,000 yearly and the ministers US$30,000.

Toribiong in his letter cited that a good example of how this is fair is the salary structure of the United States Government officials the President receives an annual salary of US$400,000, the Vice President US$208,100, Senator and Representative US$162,100, Speaker of the House US$208,000, US Supreme Court Chief Justice US$208,100, and Associate Justice US$199,200.

"The proposal is to bring substantial degree of fairness to the salaries of the officials of three branches of our National Government; and if we have to reduce our salaries then it will be done proportionally based upon the relative weight of the responsibilities of our offices," the president said.

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