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Monday, December 11, 2006

Collective Pay For Political Employees Up About 18 Percent In Past Three Years

Jon Lender has an article in today's Courant focusing on the salaries of political appointees.

The ranks of political appointees have grown from 114 to 126 since 2003, Rowland's last full year in office, and their combined salaries have increased from $11.6 million to $13.8 million in that same period, according to a state personnel list of agency commissioners, deputies, executive assistants and others who get jobs through political patronage appointments instead of state civil service rules. That's a 10 percent increase in bodies and an 18 percent jump in salary costs in three years.

In the past 10 years, there has been a 40 percent jump in the total number of political appointees in state government, from 90 in 1996 to today's 126, mostly by the addition of more deputy commissioners and executive assistants. Those changes show up in lists of appointees compiled by state personnel officials at the Department of Administrative Services in response to Freedom of Information requests by The Courant.

Connecticut's highest paid agency commissioners make nearly $158,000 a year, more than the governor's $150,000 - and more than commissioners in some larger states.
Commissioners and deputy commissioners in Connecticut have been receiving raises at an annual rate of 3 percent in recent years. For example, Revenue Services Commissioner Pamela A. Law, Mental Health Commissioner Thomas A. Kirk Jr. and Mental Retardation Commissioner Peter H. O'Meara all saw their salaries rise from $144,481 to $157,880 between 2003 and 2006.

Executive assistants who work under commissioners and deputies at state agencies have had greater pay raises, in varying amounts up to 6 percent or more annually. Donna L. Pomeroy, executive assistant at the Department of Revenue Services, for example, saw her salary rise more than 22 percent in the same three years - from $92,700 to $113,460. Executive assistant Robert M. Norman, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, received a 12 percent raise, from $86,990 to $97,909, during that same period.

Lender wants us to be appalled by how many people are on the state payroll, and even more appalled at their salaries. Perhaps he's right, and to be fair he's surely spent more time looking at this than I have. I'm a bit more skeptical. It's very easy to complain about numbers without considering what these people actually do. Maybe each appointee is worth every penny. I don't know enough to come to a conclusion.

Lender, Jon. "Appointees Have Done Well With Rell". Hartford Courant. 12/11/06


Blogger GMR said...

My question would be, did these people have deputy commissioners and executive assistants ten years ago? Were they not political appointees then, but are now?

I'm more worried about the total increase in government spending than a few extra political appointees, especially if they are now political appointees but were previously civil service employees.

Commissioners getting paid more than commissioners of larger states: our cost of living is probably higher, no?

12/11/2006 01:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Paul Silvester I'm Not said...

How is this story not specifically about the Treasurer's office? 14 people with salaries that range mid-60's to 100+? 14 Assistants, really? Wow. Am I the only one who's nervous about her being in charge of the money?

12/11/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And these numbers don't include probably the richest benefit packages this side of Sweden.

12/11/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lender is a lazy reporter who likes to create scandals. He doesn't care about addressing the real issue and that is how state employees make more money based on years of service rather than performance. Just take a look at the salaries of various officials and you see executive assistants who have been in state government for a long time making a lot of money. You will also notice that long-tenured deputies are making more money than recently appointed commissioners. Perhaps the real scandal here is that we pay people for longevity rather than performance and ability!

12/11/2006 03:10:00 PM  
Anonymous meteskyjr said...

The story's subjects are emblematic of what's going on throughout state government at every level: automatic raises every year, step raises, seniority bonuses. It does add up and it bears little resemblance to what's going on in the private sector. The commissioner of administrative services, for example, was paid $95,000 in 1999, now gets $140,300. The head of motor vehicles has gone from $83,500 to $127,700; a deputy commissioner of public works has gone from $75,500 to $110,900. And so on, down through the ranks. At some point this becomes insupportable, especially when you add in the benefits. Higher salaries mean higher pensions, too, obviously. And no one ever does anything about it.

12/11/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the Treasurer of this state know she is in charge of the money?

12/11/2006 04:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Genuario was on CPTV the other night. If I understood him correctly, the required increased costs of employee benefit programs (without salary increases) will consume 90% of the allowable increases in spending under the spending cap in the next biennial budget.
There is a collective bargaining agreement in effect that continues this escalation until 2017. The fact is that employee costs (both past and current) are going to consume state government.
Sort of like eating your young.

12/11/2006 04:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lender is lazy.

I wonder if the same outrage would exist if democrats were pissing away three times more than Rell with half the responsibility?

Now we can know - www.yournews2.com just posted the names, titles and gross salaries of those poeple working in Dodd's office, lieberman,larson,delauro...

are you all still outraged?

it's all disgusting.

12/11/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


according to that post at

sherry brown in LIEbermans office makes more than Governor Rell?

12/11/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Anonymous meteskyjr said...

As with the state figures, the salaries of federal employees working in congressional offices are merely emblematic of what's going on throughout the federal government, especially the workers in Washington, D.C. As with state employees, their sense of entitlement is profound (and often unwarranted) but their legislative sugar daddies don't have the backbone to do anything about it. When it comes to this issue, federal or state, Republican or Democrat, the gravy just keeps on flowing.

12/11/2006 06:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee executives hire senior staff to run their departments. Really shocking. Next thing the Courant will report that all appointees use office supplies. The real outrage is in the dollars awarded outsourced vendors, like millions in construction contracts.

12/11/2006 07:19:00 PM  
Anonymous meteskyjr said...

The silence on this topic is absolutely stunning. The weight of local, state and federal salaries, benefits and pensions will one day crush us all.

12/12/2006 09:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think some of the difference is attributable to the fact that Rell's staff takes their compensation in paychecks from the state, rather than wine, cigars, cars, hot tubs, plane tickets, basketball games....

12/12/2006 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Commissioners 4:30 and 7:19.

12/12/2006 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger The Stark Raving Viking said...

Rowland goes into prison with supposedly no money. He comes out of prison and then buys a $500,000 house and talks in speeches about Evangelism and Religion. I need boots and I am about to gag.

There are too many that get too much for doing nothing.

12/16/2006 05:56:00 PM  

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