Nebraska State Constitution Article III-19

Article III-19


Compensation; increase when; extra compensation to public officers and contractors prohibited; retirement benefits; adjustment.

The Legislature shall never grant any extra compensation to any public officer, agent, or servant after the services have been rendered nor to any contractor after the contract has been entered into, except that retirement benefits of retired public officers and employees may be adjusted to reflect changes in the cost of living and wage levels that have occurred subsequent to the date of retirement.

The compensation of any public officer, including any officer whose compensation is fixed by the Legislature, shall not be increased or diminished during his or her term of office, except that when there are members elected or appointed to the Legislature or the judiciary, or officers elected or appointed to a board or commission having more than one member, and the terms of such members commence and end at different times, the compensation of all members of the Legislature, of the judiciary, or of such board or commission may be increased or diminished at the beginning of the full term of any member thereof.

Nothing in this section shall prevent local governing bodies from reviewing and adjusting vested pension benefits periodically as prescribed by ordinance.

The surviving spouse of any retired public officer, agent, or servant, who has retired under a pension plan or system, shall be considered as having pensionable status and shall be entitled to the same benefits which may, at any time, be provided for or available to spouses of other public officers, agents, or servants who have retired under such pension plan or system at a later date, and such benefits shall not be prohibited by the restrictions of this section or of Article XIII, section 3 of the Constitution of Nebraska.



1. Salary increase

2. Extra compensation

3. Miscellaneous

1. Salary increase

A resolution of a county board fixing the salaries of elected county officers at an amount plus an annual adjustment for changes in the cost of living as determined by an independent federal agency, does not violate this Article and section of the Nebraska Constitution. Shepoka v. Knopik, 201 Neb. 780, 272 N.W.2d 364 (1978).

Laws 1971, L.B. 743, was not effective as to compensation for county attorney whose term had started before it was adopted. State ex rel. Nebraska State Bar Assn. v. Holscher, 193 Neb. 729, 230 N.W.2d 75 (1975).

Act creating State Employees Retirement System did not violate this section. Gossman v. State Employees Retirement System, 177 Neb. 326, 129 N.W.2d 97 (1964).

Salary of executive officer could not be increased during term. State ex rel. Laughlin v. Johnson, 156 Neb. 671, 57 N.W.2d 531 (1953).

Increase or decrease in compensation resulting from a change in population is not prohibited by this section. Hamilton v. Foster, 155 Neb. 89, 50 N.W.2d 542 (1951).

Increase in salaries of county commissioners during their term of office was prohibited by this section. Ramsey v. County of Gage, 153 Neb. 24, 43 N.W.2d 593 (1950).

Legislature has authority to increase salary of officer during term whose compensation has not previously been fixed by legislative enactment. State ex rel. Johnson v. Marsh, 149 Neb. 1, 29 N.W.2d 799 (1947).

Statute providing for garnishment of officers and employees of state and its subdivisions does not violate provision prohibiting increase or diminution of compensation of public officers during term of office. Department of Banking v. Foe, 136 Neb. 422, 286 N.W. 264 (1939).

Action of a county board in determining population of a county as a basis for determining salaries of county officers, without notice and opportunity to such officers to be heard was void. Shambaugh v. Buffalo County, 133 Neb. 46, 274 N.W. 207 (1937).

Salary of any public officer, whether fixed by Constitution or statute, cannot be diminished during term. State ex rel. Day v. Hall, 129 Neb. 699, 262 N.W. 850 (1935); State ex rel. Taylor v. Hall, 129 Neb. 669, 262 N.W. 835 (1935).

Salary of officer created by Constitution could not be diminished during his term. State ex rel. Randall v. Hall, 125 Neb. 236, 249 N.W. 756 (1933).

2. Extra compensation

When the services for which compensation is granted are rendered prior to the date on which the terms of compensation are determined, the benefits awarded are not compensation but are a gratuity, and the payment of such benefits violates this provision. It follows that when the services for which compensation is paid are rendered after the date on which the terms of compensation are established, the benefits awarded are not a gratuity, and the payment of such benefits does not violate this provision. City of Omaha v. City of Elkhorn, 276 Neb. 70, 752 N.W.2d 137 (2008).

The prohibition contained in this section of the Nebraska Constitution is not applicable to the compensation paid to a jailer, even if the duties of jailer are performed by the sheriff. State ex rel. Landanger v. Madison County, 213 Neb. 33, 327 N.W.2d 93 (1982).

Law authorizing payment to county treasurer of 25 cent fee for each applicant for motor vehicle operator's license was not void as increasing salary. Mehrens v. Bauman, 120 Neb. 110, 231 N.W. 701 (1930).

Legislator can receive from state for services as member, or member of committee, only compensation provided by Constitution. In re Appeal of Wilkins, 116 Neb. 748, 219 N.W. 9 (1928).

Pension granted to firemen in municipality is not gratuity nor extra compensation within Constitution. State ex rel. Haberlan v. Love, 89 Neb. 149, 131 N.W. 196 (1911).

3. Miscellaneous

Prohibition against a gratuity of compensation after services rendered applies both to the state and all political subdivisions thereof. Retired City Gov. Emp. Club of Omaha v. City of Omaha Emp. Ret. Sys., 199 Neb. 507, 260 N.W.2d 472 (1977).

Judges of the district court of this state are members of a court within meaning of this section. Garrotto v. McManus, 185 Neb. 644, 177 N.W.2d 570 (1970).

Deduction from salary for retirement pay during existing term of judge was violation of this section. Wilson v. Marsh, 162 Neb. 237, 75 N.W.2d 723 (1956).

Office of police judge is constitutional office within this section, and period of an officer holding over, together with regular term, constitutes one term. State ex rel. Gordon v. Moores, 61 Neb. 9, 84 N.W. 399 (1900).

Before 1920 amendment this section applied alone to those officers whose offices were created by the Constitution and did not apply to office of county commissioner. Douglas County v. Timme, 32 Neb. 272, 49 N.W. 266 (1891).