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State watchdog gets third pay raise in three years

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/File

For the third time in as many years, a state board has awarded Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha a pay hike, pushing his salary to more than $185,000, the maximum allowed under state law.

Cunha, first appointed in 2012 to head the independent watchdog agency, will start collecting his $4,000 increase on July 1. Taking into account past pay hikes, Cunha will make nearly $50,000, or 37 percent, more in July than he did six years ago.

The Inspector General Council — a low-profile, eight-person board that includes the attorney general, state auditor, and state comptroller — unanimously approved the most recent raise earlier this month.

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The board is required to review Cunha’s pay annually, and it gave Cunha increases of roughly $12,000 and $11,000 each of the last two years, respectively.

However, this latest hike is likely his last for the foreseeable future. The inspector general’s pay is allowed to go as high as 90 percent of the Supreme Judicial Court’s chief justice salary, which last year jumped to $206,239 after lawmakers passed a controversial legislative package in 2017 increasing their own salaries, as well as those of judges and other top state officials.

At $185,615, Cunha’s new salary will hit its statutory ceiling, barring any further changes to the judicial pay or state law. Cunha’s currently making $181,490.

James Morris, who chairs the council that approved the raise, said it’s well-deserved. The inspector general’s office expanded last year to include a unit overseeing the State Police, and Cunha has “taken on big issues,” Morris said.

Cunha pressed Methuen officials earlier this year to rescind a pair of controversial salary pacts with a police union after finding that former mayor Stephen Zanni and the city council likely violated state laws. US Attorney Andrew Lelling also credited Cunha’s office with assisting the investigation into Fall River Mayor Jasiel F. Correia II, who was indicted last year on fraud charges.

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“It’s not just a giveaway,” Morris said of the pay increase. “When you have an executive who rises to the occasion — he’s a self-starter and he’s not just going along for the ride — I think you have to reward them the best you can within the limits of the system.”

Cunha declined to comment on the increase through a spokesman.

While not a law enforcement agency, Cunha’s office is tasked with investigating crimes involving public funds and identifying government waste and abuse. If it finds criminal wrongdoing, it can refer cases to the attorney general and the US Attorney’s office.

His new salary also puts Cunha in line with the state’s other top officials, all of whom also took pay increases this year.

Governor Charlie Baker makes $185,000 a year, plus a $65,000 housing stipend, while state Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg makes $189,560 annually. Attorney General Maura T. Healey’s salary stands at $185,378, while state Auditor Suzanne M. Bump and Secretary of State William F. Galvin each make nearly $179,000, according to payroll records. Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito takes home $165,000 in pay.


Matt Stout can be reached at matt.stout@globe.com. Follow him on


Twitter @mattpstout.