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Letters to the Editor

Legislative bonuses

May 12, 2009

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To the editor:

The Republican Party has controlled the Legislature in Kansas for decades.

It has allowed them to create unclassified politically partisan positions within the Legislature that pay more than most average citizens make per year. Now we learn that they get bonuses based on whatever criteria a legislative leader determines is suitable. Apparently, even though the Legislature isn’t in session year around, these folks draw a paycheck that ranges from $65,000 to $90,000 a year plus bonuses.

Do we have a full time quasi-legislature in the form of these legislative assistants? Are these the folks who are doing the work that our legislators are suppose to do? It makes one wonder who holds the real power in the Legislature.

It seems ludicrous to justify these salaries and bonuses on the basis of overtime and the temporary nature of the employment. These folks knew the nature of these jobs when they were hired. If they are performing these jobs only for the money, that is a sad state of affairs.

It sickens me to think of the cuts that have been made to education and social services in order to balance a budget that is bloated with excessive legislative administrative costs. It angers me to think that our legislators would even consider a pay cut for classified state employees who do the real work when they are doling out bonuses and exorbitant pay to their own political staff.

Why should we be surprised that we have budget shortfalls?

Comments

Chris Ogle 5 years, 7 months ago

"Why should we be surprised that we have budget shortfalls"

Budget shortfalls= going broke.... A few people gain, while most of us pay.

Kirk Larson 5 years, 7 months ago

musbhiolo,

Let's not hate. Voting them out on their behinds should be sufficient.

repaste 5 years, 7 months ago

I have two hands, a left and a right! Wow!

KansasVoter 5 years, 7 months ago

The bonuses that the Democrats gave seem reasonable, but the bonuses that the republicans gave are much, much too high. The republicans did not deserve that much bonus money.

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says…

"Found any evidence for that yet Pelosi Boy?"

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123854799133476409.html

"Overall in the House, disbursements were roughly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats."

"Disbursement forms show that dozens of aides working for the Financial Services Committee got a bonus from panel Chairman Barney Frank. Spokesman Steven Adamske said the Massachusetts Democrat gives bonuses to staffers because "government workers are pretty low paid." He said several aides who got bonuses had worked long hours during 2008 on the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program."

"Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez of California handed out the largest payments, giving $14,000 apiece to three aides."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_574413.html

"As executive director of the House Appropriations Committee, Miriam Fox received $28,000, the largest 2006 bonus of anyone in the now-defunct bonus program. Fox, who was paid $133,434 last year, has not worked on political campaigns. She is a state budget analyst, said Johnna Pro, a spokeswoman for committee Chairman Dwight Evans."

"Mike Manzo, a Monaca native who was DeWeese's chief of staff, was the Democratic caucus' chief strategist. As such, he took hundreds of calls from lawmakers every week. Manzo, whose salary was $133,372, received a $20,250 and then became one of the seven people DeWeese forced to resign. He now is on the payroll of Triad Strategies, one of the Harrisburg's most-influential public affairs firms."

http://bonusgate2008.com/

"At the end of 2006, after winning back control of the lower chamber, House Democrats gave nearly $1.9 million in bonuses to 717 aides - more than the other three caucuses combined."

Now, I'm sure you'll say we were only talking about the Kansas legislature. Who knows, maybe if the Democrats had any power - or relevance - in the Kansas legislature, we could come up with some local examples. But then, that's not likely to happen, is it?

madameX 5 years, 7 months ago

“At the end of 2006, after winning back control of the lower chamber, House Democrats gave nearly $1.9 million in bonuses to 717 aides - more than the other three caucuses combined.”


FYI, this works out to $2,649.23 per aid. Not exactly excessive.

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says…

"I refuse to be baited into arguing with someone who does it just for the sake of arguing, regardless of the quality of their information."

Uh huh. As usual, you "refuse to be baited into arguing" when you're glaringly wrong, and called on it.

The "quality of [my] information" is a matter of public record. Sorry if you find it unacceptable soley because it doesn't fit with your blind ideology. Tom's statement that you objected to was "Democrats did it too," which I provided examples of (in places where Democrats actually have any say). And as for "just for the sake of arguing," you posed a question on a public message board - as someone who has quite a history of interjecting his 'logic' into other people's interchanges, it's more than amusing you think nobody but Tom should have answered your question (almost as amusing as your 'rebuttal,' trying to change the argument to one of a matter of degree rather than the action itself).

"See ya."

Yeah, miss ya' already. Don't let the proverbial door hit you where you carry your brains.


madameX (Anonymous) says…

"FYI, this works out to $2,649.23 per aid. Not exactly excessive."

Although you might have noticed that the total included amounts equal to or exceeding that paid to the House Speaker's chief-of-staff.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 7 months ago

If the Republicans think it is appropriate to rename the Democrats the Socialist Democratic party, one could actually make a stronger case for renaming the Republican party as the "Sociopathic Republican party."

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 7 months ago

Lets see, a few thousand paid to aids. They may almost allow them to afford to eat and get a little help with their school tuition. How terrible. Hundreds of billions paid to the wall street bankers. No problem. That will keep them in the lavish luxurious lifestyle that they have become accustomed to.

More tens of billions paid annually for an unnecessary war that propaganda was used to get us into. No problem. Wheres the hurt? Hundreds of thousands dead due to unnecessary war, again, no problem. Too many people anyway, right? Millions of refugees. Again, they needed to move anyway. Needed new sights to see. Yah, Repubs are really good and have all the answers if you don't mind some death, destruction, and financial collapse. Repub. party, the party that isn't afraid to commit crimes to increase their riches and are not disturbed by human suffering.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 7 months ago

In the relevant place where notajayhawk provides evidence of Democrats doing it to, the Pennsylvania legislature, those Democrats are under indictment.

Nice to see notajayhawk supporting legal action in Kansas against these ridiculous bonuses.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 7 months ago

Colin Powell said, if you break it, you will have to fix it. The switch back to focusing on Afghanistan, as you should easily know, is to get back to actually looking for Bin Laden and Al Quaeda, which Bush dropped the ball on due to his enthusiasm for going after Saddam and saving the oil resources.

LiberalDude 5 years, 7 months ago

Good letter to the editor Patrick!

These bonuses are ridiculous in a time of budget cuts. I wonder what else the Kansas Republicans are doing that we don't know about. They're a shady bunch.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 7 months ago

The Republican party could be called "The Fossill Party." Or "The Stuck in the Past Party." Or, The We are Just in it for the Money Party." They vote as a block for archaic means of providing energy and obtaining it from our treasured state parks and with total disregard of the status of endangered species.

"Republican opposition to Hayes' nomination was led by Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah, who expressed anger over Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's recent decision to revoke 77 oil and gas leases in Utah. He was joined by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who raised questions about the administration's plans for oil and gas development and objected to recent reversals of several Bush-era rules on endangered species and mountaintop mining.

Senate Democrats, who were joined by Salazar at the Capitol on Wednesday, said the move was an effort to stall the new administration from carrying out its agenda.

Near the top of the list is cleaning up a department that in recent years has been embroiled in scandals that included contract rigging and instances of employees having romantic relationships with workers at oil companies doing business with the government.

"It may be uncomfortable for some to watch us have to clean up mess after mess _ from corruption to lawbreaking _ that is the previous administration's legacy at Interior, but to cast a vote against such a qualified and fine person is the height of cynicism," Salazar said in a statement following the vote."

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