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Dane County Board Chair John Hendrick Might Tell Whole Story On Pay Raises For County Employees

November 4, 2013

The following came my way this morning and I think it deserves to be posted.  I also very much agree with the sentiments of the writer on this matter.  The bolding was my decision.

Dear Editor,

“I can’t in good conscience tell a {county employee} that they don’t get a pay raise, and then take one myself.”  Thus sayeth Dane County Board Chair John Hendrick in a recent news release.  One can only imagine Mr. Hendrick in cloak and toga, costume beard, posing for holy pictures.  But, as the radio host used to say, there is a “rest of the story.”

You see in 2011, after Act 10 passed and still in the weak economic recovery, while hundreds of Mr. Hendrick’s constituents in both the public and private sector were facing layoffs, furloughs, no raises and increased contributions to pensions and health insurance, he had no problem authoring a provision for a 32% pay raise for his pal, then County Board Chair Scott McDonell.  It would be (more) unseemly for McDonell to propose his own raise in the new term.

But how to fund the pay raise?  It would not look good to increase the property tax to fund it.  There was a long-time county employee in the county board legislative office nearing retirement age.  In fact, he created the office and served for decades.  How about cutting that position, and then we can say we’re not increasing the county board budget.  We can say the office is overstaffed, and we don’t need those services.  Win/Win!

So, McDonell got his pay raise, a nice bump while preparing to run for County Clerk, a race he won.  And when he won and resigned his county board seat, guess who replaced him at the higher salary?  County board vice-chair John Hendrick. 

But there’s still more to the story.  Barely a year later, Chair Hendricks decided that the remaining county board staff couldn’t handle all of the work the office required.  So the budget was increased  $60,000 (over five years) for contracted-out public relations services, and in July 2013 a half-time policy analyst job for up to $42,411 a year.  Kinda wipes out those savings of pushing out a long-time employee doesn’t it?

And what would Chair Hendricks do if Scott Walker laid off a long time employee, then contracted out the work, and replaced the full-time position with a part-time position?  He’d have his new staff pen a righteously indignant resolution of condemnation.

Hopefully Chair Hendrick has time to get the cloak and beard back to the costume shop before the Christmas pageants begin!

Rick Soletski

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