(a) All members of the board, including the chairman thereof, shall be in the unclassified service, as defined in Code Section 45-20-2, and shall not be subject to the laws and rules and regulations of the state merit system. The salaries of all members of the board, including the chairman thereof, shall be as provided in this Code section. The chairman and each member of the board shall receive an annual salary which is equal to 90 percent of the base annual salary plus cost-of-living adjustments provided in Code Section 45-7-4 for each Judge of the Court of Appeals.
(b) Each administrative law judge, whose method of appointment, removal, and terms of office shall remain as now provided by law, shall be in the unclassified service as defined in Code Section 45-20-2 and, except for certain compensation purposes, shall not be subject to the laws, rules, and regulations of the state merit system. The compensation of the administrative law judges shall be fixed by the board based on a pay grade of the general pay schedule of the state merit system and each administrative law judge shall be eligible for increases in compensation as established on the general pay schedule, subject to the review and approval of the board.
(1) Each administrative law judge employed by the board shall be entitled to any annual cost-of-living adjustment increases provided for all state employees.
(2) All administrative law judges appointed prior to January 1, 1990, shall be placed on the same pay grade of the general pay schedule and at the step which is the equivalent of one full step above their salary as established on July 1, 1989.
(c) As a cost-of-living adjustment, the annual base salary of all of the members of the board, including the chairman thereof, shall be increased by the same percentage provided to state officials by subsection (b) of Code Section 45-7-4.
(d) All other officials, personnel, and employees of the board are placed under the state merit system and shall be subject to the laws, rules, and regulations relative to that system.