Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Item: Ceiling rises on city salaries: COLA increases can put department head pay above wage scale/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: Nearly every Coeur d'Alene city department head is earning the maximum amount allowed under their wage scale. Fourteen of the 17 department heads have hit the high end of what their pay bracket allows, meaning they're no longer eligible for merit increases. In one case, according to human resource records obtained through a Freedom of Information request from The Press, a department head is earning more than what the pay scale allows because of Cost of Living increases earned along the way.
Question: Will city salaries be a major issue in the 2013 Coeur d'Alene municipal elections?
Item: Government workers now make more than private-sector workers in Idaho/Anne Alice Allen, Idaho Business Review
More Info: If you work for the government in Idaho, chances are you’re now making more than your private-sector counterpart. Government wages passed private-sector wages this year. Statistics from the state Department of Labor showed that the average monthly wage of $3,167 for government workers at all levels - federal, state and local - was 7.2 percent above the average for all workers in the private sector in 2009.
Question: Should government workers earn more than those in the private industry in Idaho?
- Weekend Poll: 94 of 173 respondents (54.34%) said they're underpaid when asked to describe the level of their wages. 50 of 173 respondents (28.9%) said they're adequately compensated. 25 of 173 (14.45%) said they are unemployed. 2 each answered they're paid too high or didn't know how to describe their level of compensation.
- Today's Poll (in honor of Bike to Work week): How often do you ride your bike when the weather is good?
In a half-hour meeting with Spokesman-Review employees this afternoon, Publisher Stacey Cowles announced that the paper will cut salaries 5% across the board for all managers, all non-union employees and, with their voluntary consent, all union employees. In a prepared statement, Cowles said: “The good news is that we remain a solvent, going concern as a news media organization and our just-released Belden market research shows that our readership levels have remained stable over the past four years. The bad news is that the turbulent and unpredictable nature of the current recessionary economy generally, and the advertising and newspaper markets specifically, is forcing us to cut costs outside our usual budget cycle.” Employees who earn less that $11 per hour will be exempt from the cuts. Cowles concluded: “I cannot guarantee restoration of the reduction, but we may be able to visit this issue in a year, depending on how the economy and our business changes in that time.”
A push to give judges a 2 percent pay raise next year died, 6 votes to 8, so the salary commission is recommending no raises for any state elected officials for the next two years.
Next up: hearings around the state. But with most state officials saying “no raise, please,” it’s pretty hard to imagine a groundswell of recession-saddled citizens flooding the hearings to insist that taxpayers be allowed to pay politicians more. Final decision: May.
No raises, thanks, most elected officials say. But new schools chief says the $121k salary’s not enough to draw top-tier candidates…
Yesterday and today, the state commission that sets salaries for elected officials has been meeting at a hotel in downtown Olympia.
So far, most of the politicians who’ve testified have said there should be no raises over the next two years, seeing as how Gov. Chris Gregoire has proposed no cost-of-living increases for state workers and teachers.
One exception: newly elected state school superintendent Randy Dorn.
Dorn, who’s trying to hire staff for his office now, this morning stopped short of explicitly calling for more money. But he strongly hinted that the $121,000-a-year salary isn’t enough to keep attracting top talent to the public position.
By comparison, he said, 121 of the school superintendents across Washington are paid more than he is. The top 20 or so make considerably more — $200,000 or more, he said.
As he tries to hire people, he said, he’s finding that school district administrators typically are paid 15 percent to 25 percent more than the state pays school administators in his office.
Dorn said he personally took a $25,000 pay cut to become state school superintendent. (He was the head of a union representing public school support staff.)
He said he knew that when he chose to run. But he said his employer was unusual in letting him keep his job while campaigning nearly full time. Most employers wouldn’t, he said. And that’s especially true for the top-rank pool of school superintendents. Why would they give up a year of their life to campaign, Dorn said, “and then take a $75,000 cut in pay?”
“How do you get quality people into the position? I think you’re going to have to make it more attractive than it is,” he said.
Idaho’s highest-paid state employee isn’t the governor, a university president or a key scientist - it’s Boise State University head football coach Chris Petersen. Petersen heads the list of a record 310 Idaho state employees who now out-earn Gov. Butch Otter. The list has swelled from 284 last year, in part because Otter opted to turn down his scheduled 3 percent pay raise this year and stick with last year’s salary of $108,727. Petersen’s $806,998 salary, which comes from both state and private sources, is now more than eight times the governor’s salary/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Should a sports coach, now matter how successful, earn 8 times as much as a state’s governor?