WisGOP: Gov. Evers’ Cabinet Secretaries get double-digit raises

Contact: Charles Nichols
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Evers’ Key Appointees Will Receive Significantly More than Walker Predecessors
[Madison, WI] — Last week, the MacIver News Service reported that Governor Evers will be giving double-digit salary increases to many of his key appointees. The Democrat Governor’s cabinet members will be earning significantly more than their predecessors under Republican Governor Scott Walker. This news comes just one day before Evers announced his plan to raise taxes on Wisconsinites by more than $1 billion over the next two years. During his campaign, Evers said he wanted to cut lawmakers’ salaries to be equal to that of first-year teachers, or about $37,000. Apparently, Governor Evers doesn’t feel the same way when it comes to paying his own appointees.
Read the full write-up here or find excerpts below.
Evers’ Cabinet Secretaries Get Double-Digit Raises
MacIver News Service
Matt Kittle
February 27, 2019
Gov. Tony Evers’ cabinet members are earning significantly more than their predecessors, according to executive branch salary information obtained by MacIver News Service in an open records request.
Many of the Democratic governor’s key appointees received double-digit salary increases, according to the state Department of Administration spreadsheet of cabinet salaries.
Speaking of the DOA, Evers’ pick for secretary, Joel Brennan is taking home $152,755 a year, about 20 percent more than former Gov. Scott Walker’s DOA Secretary, Scott Neitzel, according to 2017 salary information. Neitzel left that post in 2018, and was succeeded by Ellen Nowak, who made $132,000,  according to reports. That’s 15 percent more than Brennan, who will earn just $1 less than his boss. Evers is set to make $152,756 annually, according the Legislative Reference Bureau.
Evers’ Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm is pulling in $150,009, about $22,000, or 17 percent, more a year than Walker’s last DHS Secretary, Linda Seemeyer.
Transportation Secretary-designee Craig Thompson will make $145,017 per year, a 23 percent increase compared to the salary of his predecessor, DOT Secretary Dave Ross, who took home $117,254 annually when he started in 2017. Factor in a 2 percent raise for Ross in 2018, and Thompson would still be making more than 20 percent more than his predecessor.
State Rep. Joe Sanfelippo questioned the hefty salary bumps in the executive branch. The West Allis Republican said the increases were “unheard of” but not surprising coming from a governor who has already proposed billions of dollars in additional spending in advance of his biennial budget plan, expected to be released later this week.

“It’s just emblematic of what I expect to see coming out in the budget Thursday,” Sanfelippo said. “(The governor) has no regard for how hard taxpayers have to work and he’s proving it by just throwing money around left and right.”

Department of Natural Resources Secretary-designee Preston Cole will pull down nearly $147,000 a year, a 15 percent increase over his predecessor, DNR Secretary Dan Meyer, who made just over $127,000 annually.

Peter Barca, Evers’ pick for Department of Revenue secretary, will haul in nearly $145,000, an 18 percent increase from the previous secretary, Richard Chandler.

The Department of Workforce Development Secretary-designee Caleb Frostman will receive an annual salary of $140,000 a year, a 15 percent increase from his predecessor, Ray Allen, who earned $122,470 a year.

Department of Financial Institutions Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld gets an 18 percent salary increase, taking home $135,012 annually. That’s a $20,000 boost from what Walker administration DFI Secretary Jay Risch earned.

And Evers’ Agriculture, Insurance, Veterans Affairs and Tourism directors will all make $130,000 annually, in some cases, thousands of dollars more than their predecessors. The tourism post comes with an 18 percent salary increase.
The double-digit raises are a departure from the Walker years. In 2011, when Walker took office, a majority of his cabinet members earned less than Gov. Jim Doyle’s secretaries, according to a salary comparison published at the time by the Isthmus, a Madison-based liberal news organization.

On the campaign trail last year, Evers said he wanted lawmakers to be paid the same as first-year teachers, or about $37,000 a year. The salary for lawmakers is $52,999, a 4 percent increase in the previous biennium.

Evers didn’t say anything on the campaign trail about raising cabinet member salaries by more than 20 percent

Read the full write-up here.
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