When Governor Doug Burgum was on the campaign trail... one of his promises was to not accept a salary. It turns out that was much easier said than done. Governor Burgum actually can't just refuse a salary. Like most things at the capitol, there's a due process.
Burgum had to submit an amendment that must be approved by the house and senate, leaving the decision up to the full legislative body. Here's what some of those decision makers had to say.
Sen. Kelly Armstrong: "I think if he want's to do that, he's more than welcomed to do it. I know the process has been a little complicated, but at the end of the day, he'll figure out a way to honor that campaign pledge, even if it's donating to charity."
The senate appropriations chairman doesn't consider it such a simple gesture. Senator Ray Holmberg says it could set an unwanted precedent.
Sen. Ray Holmberg: "and my campaign pitch is I'm going to not take a salary, and I'm running against someone who needs the salary, there are consequences to that that I think we need to think through."
Others feel that it breaks a long standing tradition that upholds a contract between the governor and the state.
Rep. Corey Mock: "As governor, again, lottable, I hope that he takes the salary so that that tradition continues. That there is a contract and commitment between North Dakota and their elected officials, and if he wants to donate to charity and put that money to good use, I would be fully supportive of it."
And as to whether or not the amendment will pass..
Rep. Corey Mock: "You know, I'm not sure. I know the legislature, there's many in both chambers that share my sentiment. That giving the governor the ability to just not take a salary and just do the job, it does set a dangerous precedent."
Sen. Ray Holmberg: "Oh, it'll be a while yet. It won't be one of the early bills we put out."
Governor Burgum has said that even if the legislature forces him to take the salary, he will donate it to charity. Ray Holmberg designated a subcommittee to review Governor Burgum's amendment. The committee has yet to choose a hearing date.
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