Outgoing Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin gave raises to more than 30 employees last month during a prolonged period of state budget cuts.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV in Atlanta reported the raises Monday after a joint investigation.
They found that the employees all received raises of 5 percent. Seven others who work for a subsidiary of the Department of Agriculture got raises of between 9 percent and 19 percent.
The investigation shows that a total of 41 employees got pay increases at a cost to the state of more than $130,000 a year.
State employees haven't gotten raises in three years of recession cutbacks.
Irvin, a Democrat, is retiring in January after more than 40 years in office. He said Monday he wishes he could have given raises to more employees.