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FYI: My Absence at the Special Session Was a Protest Against Salary Raises

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Dec. 31, 2006 – "It was a sham and I wanted nothing to do with any salary adjustment," Sen. Neville James said Friday. James was referring to the Thursday, Dec. 28 special Senate session called by outgoing Gov. Charles W. Turnbull to raise the salaries of the governor, lt. governor and the senators.
Sen. James said his absence at the session was no accident. "I was absent because I wanted to be."
James said throughout the history of the legislature senators have broken quorums, not shown up for meetings, and left the senate floor to prevent a vote from being recorded thus allowing the measure being voted on to fail. He said those senators who voted "no" to the raises were just as culpable as those who voted "yes."
"How did the vote take place? They could have walked off the floor as they have done in the past if they really did not want the bill to pass," Sen. James stated.
James said he is tired of last minute legislation being forced on the body. "I think it is unethical," he said.
Sen. James said he would introduce legislation in the 27th Legislature to adjust the salaries downward.
"The raises are way too big," James said, "$70,000 for the governor and $50,000 for the lt. governor? They need to be adjusted downward."
James also questioned the senator's salary increases. "What if the new administration decides to raise the pay of the department commissioners? The senators' salaries are tied to the commissioners, senators could end up making $115,000 a year. The whole thing is just wrong," James stated.
"I have to do what I believe is right for me. People may have their opinion of my actions, but I am not going to just follow along with the crowd. These raises could have been considered earlier and I am not "going to play in the dark" with the other members of the legislature," Sen. James concluded.

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