Senator racks up $42,600 in off-season pay

FRANKFORT — State Sen. Joey Pendleton of Hopkinsville has been paid for more days at his job in the Kentucky legislature than any of his other legislative colleagues, according to a review of records.

The Courier-Journal of Louisville reported Friday that a review of state records shows that Pendleton, the Senate minority whip, was paid $42,600 for 238 days of work when the General Assembly was not in session. Lawmakers frequently have work on legislative committees when the legislature is adjourned.

"I work extremely hard at every job I do," Pendleton told the newspaper. "I have driven as many as four days in a row back and forth to Frankfort because I need to get back here."

Pendleton has been paid for more than twice as many days as the average number of days senators worked in the legislative off-season. The average is 93 days. And, it ties the most worked by any senator.

Lawmakers are paid for every day during a legislative session and days they attend committee meetings or conferences when the legislature is adjourned. Legislative leaders, such as Pendleton, are allowed to claim pay for any day they report for legislative business.

Pendleton says he worked so many days because of his leadership position in the Senate. Records show that between April 12, 2006, and June 30, 2008, Pendleton was paid for 103 days for committee work and 135 days for "legislative business."

Senate Majority Leader Dan Kelly, R-Springfield, was also paid for 238 days.

Pendleton is running for re-election against Republican candidate Tom Jones of Hopkinsville.

Pendleton also worked at Murray State University, making $55,000 per year handling the school's farms. Murray State President Randy Dunn says Pendleton's contract was not renewed after June 30 because of state budget cuts.