Georgia DNR Commissioner Salary Soars

GON Staff | June 1, 1989

J. Leonard Ledbetter, DNR Commissioner, must be doing a tremendous job for the people of Georgia. At $78,349, his salary has jumped more than 40 percent in the past six years and now surpasses all elected state officials salaries except the governor. 

DNR Commissioner, J. Leonard Ledbetter

Interestingly, appointed officials like Mr. Ledbetter tend to make more money than do state officials who must be elected by the people. Salaries set by the legislature are generally lower than salaries set by independent, appointed Boards. For instance, Department of Transportation Commissioner Hal Reeves makes 93, 530, or $6,824 more than Gov. Joe Frank Harris. Commissioner Reeves salary is set by an appointed governing Board. 

By comparison, Lt. Gov. Zell Miller is paid only $56,293; his salary is set by the legislature.

As chief operating officer for DNR, Commissioner Ledbetter is responsible for administering Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division, Parks Division, Recreation and Historic Sites Division, Coastal Resources Division and the Game and Fish Division.

At its May meeting, the Board of Natural Resources approved a 5% pay raise for the commissioner. The two-stage increase, 2 1/2% effective June 1 and 2 1/2% effective July 1, will raise Ledbetter’s annual salary from $74,573 to $78,349.

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