LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- If Kim Davis were so moved by her religious convictions as to resign her position, she’d give up a salary that is more than twice what the average job pays in Rowan County, Kentucky.
Davis, the county clerk, has attracted national attention for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples and subsequent jailing at the order of a federal judge.
Her taxpayer-funded salary – reported recently in the media as $80,000 – has also raised eyebrows.
Davis actually earns $79,796.68 annually, according to the Kentucky Department for Local Government.
Her pay -- like the salary of clerks in all 120 Kentucky counties -- is set by the state under a formula the legislature adopted in 1998.
Annual salaries for clerks range from $65,019 in Robertson County (population 2,188) to $118,217 for Bobbie Holsclaw, clerk of Jefferson County (population 750,828), according to the 2015 state schedule, provided to WDRB under the Kentucky Open Records Act. (Click here to see the schedule with all 120 county clerk salaries).
Rowan County contains 23,447 people, according to the schedule.
Clerk pay is mainly determined by the size of the county, but the officials are also rewarded for longevity. Clerks’ salaries go up each of their four years in office, and if re-elected, they continue to get paid at the rate they earned in the fourth year of their tenure, adjusted for inflation.
While clerks’ salaries are generally funded through revenue generated by their offices, clerks have no discretion to set their own compensation, said Russell Salsman, chief of staff in the state Department for Local Government.
“Clerks must pay themselves this salary (set by the state) and not anything lower,” Salsman said in an email Wednesday.
In Rowan County, the average annual pay of all workers was $31,798 in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Jefferson County, it was $49,133.
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