Sunday, April 22, 2012

Walker Gives $765,000 In Merit Bonuses The Same Week He Murders COLA For Teachers

It's become a joke in Wisconsin - if it's Friday - the Walker camp will drop some bit of news they wish to get lost in the weekend news-cycle.

We learned of Scott Walker's hiring of two criminal defense attorneys on a Friday as well has his backroom signing to repeal the equal pay act and harsh restrictions on abortion access and the return to the dismal failure of abstinence only sex ed...all on a Friday.

So what news broke as Wisconsin readied itself for the weekend?

Well, having botched his budget with a $142 million imbalance, Scott Walker signed off on $765,000 in merit bonuses and raises for some lucky state workers. Nice for them.

Pretty generous the Siren thinks. Justice Department workers got nearly $300,000 in raises and bonuses even though Walker tried to cut their budget for services for sexual assault victims by almost half.

Get it? More salary and less services. That's how we roll in Fitzwalkerstan these days.

Walker resurrected the program after Jim Doyle suspended it in 2008 - because critics of the program felt it smacked of favoritism and crony politics...funny how it still does. Faced with record staff departures ironically caused by drastic department budget cuts, the Walker administration was forced to take some action to stem the tide of the Wisconsin brain drain.

But it was not all good news for state workers as Wisconsin teachers learned that Walker had used his grossly expanded authority to restrict cost of living (COLA) raises to base salary bargaining alone  - making advanced degree or study irrelevant when assigning COLA increases.

A special education teacher who pursued and achieved advanced education in order to get a special education degree receives no extra pay for his or her extra level of expertise. Sure the school district could pay them more, but the union cannot bargain on their behalf for it under Walker's new rule.

Merit pay is strictly reserved for high level Walker appointees and administration apparatchiks and not for Wisconsin teachers.