By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
Gov. Bill Ritter said on a radio show yesterday that Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper should consider raising the salary for governor in four years if the political climate is right.
During his final appearance as governor on the KOA Mike Rosen Show, Ritter pointed out that the Colorado governor’s $90,000 salary is one of the lowest salaries for a governor in the country. The salary has not gone up since 1998 and is significantly less than the $206,500 the governor of California makes, for instance.
Ritter pointed out that many of his cabinet members and senior staff make more money than him.
“That’s partly what happens when you do this work, it’s not a get rich quick scheme,” he said.
However, Ritter added that being governor is an honor and an incredible job.
“The pay aside, everything about this job is such a privilege,” he said.
Ritter brought up the governor’s pay after being asked his plans for the future. Ritter said he has no concrete job decision for when his term as governor ends next month but is in the midst of “lots of discussions” and expects to know his plans by the end of the month.
Ritter’s four children will likely be in college next year, meaning he will have to find a job fairly soon, he said. But Ritter said he doubted he would end up in Washington, D.C.
“I want to stay in Colorado, it’s where my kids are, it’s where my home is, and quite frankly I just love this state,” he said.
While in his past monthly appearances Ritter often heavily sparred with the conservative Rosen over everything from tax credits to vehicle registration fees, yesterday’s show was largely a friendly look back at Ritter’s time in public office. Ritter thanked Rosen for having him on the show and allowing him to talk about issues without the conversation getting too heated.
Rosen in turn said that he often gets “nasty e-mails” from listeners who are upset he isn’t more combative with Ritter. But Rosen said his job is to give Ritter an opportunity to explain his positions, not to talk over him and yell.
Ritter first appeared on the Mike Rosen Show while he was a Denver District Attorney. It has become tradition for sitting governors to appear once a month on the Mike Rosen Show, with Hickenlooper expected to follow suit.
For his part, Ritter said his staff has been involved with getting Hickenlooper and his team ready for office. Each state department head prepared a three-ring binder for the new administration, he said.
Ritter acknowledged that it could be somewhat difficult when hearing about things that Hickenlooper might undo or do differently than what he put in place as governor. But he believes Hickenlooper will do a good job as a governor.
Rosen said he hopes to have Ritter on his radio show sometime going forward and that he enjoyed their time together.
“It was always a pleasure to have you here, even though we didn’t always agree,” he said.