MN-03 : Prelude to Wage Freeze, Paulsen Staff Salaries Soar

QUERY : As CEO with 18 employees and operating costs of $1,273,567.46, a management consultant, who you endorse for his past accomplishments and vision for the future, observes that your have excessive personnel and your spending has caused you to increase your borrowing, how do you address employment compensation ?
Specifically: do you grant salary increases and/or bonuses regardless of achieving stated goals ?

As you ponder that, consider the often-repeated campaign rhetoric from Mitt Romney :
we have to make the federal government more productive. It is just way too over– over-burdened with– with excessive personnel. I’ll reduce the personnel by at least ten percent.”

“I’m going to link the pay of government workers with the pay in the private sector. Government servants shouldn’t get more than the people who are paying taxes.”

“The principle here is simple: public servants should not get a better deal than the citizens they serve.”

Side comment : note the description “servants” which Mitt Romney has used repeatedly during the campaign.

Considering that Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03) has endorsed Mitt Romney, one wonders if Mr. Paulsen shares that view … particularly since he is a fiduciary employer of a Congressional staff ?

Erik Paulsen was first elected to represent the Third District and immediately received a $4,700 cost-of-living raise in 2009 over what his predecessor received in annual salary of rank-and-file members of Congress to $174,000, where it remains today.

Representative Paulsen (and all other Members) was also authorized a Member’s Representational Allowance which allows for the hiring of up to 18 permanent staffers and 4 others (i.e. part-time, interns, etc.). There are roughly 7,500 personal staff in the House plus there are about 1,500 committee staffers in the House while there is somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000+ people working in the legislative branch of the federal government.

Representative Paulsen’s staff salary expense since becoming a Government employer is :
2009 – $749,791
2010 – $794,053
2011 – $899,145

Some of Representative Paulsen’s staff have remained with him over his tenure … for example, his Chief of Staff was hired in at a quarterly salary in 2009 of $30,000 (or $10,000 per month) while the most recent quarter (October-December 2011) showed compensation of $40,568.50.
Or, his District Director who was hired in at a quarterly salary in 2009 of $16,250 (or $5,416.67 per month) while the most recent quarter (October-December 2011) showed compensation of $ 25,000.
Or, his District Outreach Coordinator who was hired in at a quarterly salary in 2009 of $8,750 (or $2.916.67 per month) while the most recent quarter (October-December 2011) showed compensation of $15,000.

There are plenty more examples but the trend is the trend yet what is interesting about this “quiet” salary growth is that the loud statements about controlling costs of government salaries.

Remember the Republican Pledge to America in which House Republican leaders promised to “make Congress do more with less by significantly reducing its budget.”
On Jan. 6, 2011, Representative Paulsen voted for a binding resolution that would cut the operating budget of member and committee offices by 5 percent.

Further, Representative Erik Paulsen issued a press release on April 14, 2011 self-congratulating himself “Paulsen Votes for Largest Annual Spending Cut in American History

Today, we’ve begun the process of ending Washington’s wasteful spending spree and changing the culture of bloated bureaucracy that has plagued Washington for too long,” said Paulsen.

Key facts of the spending agreement include:

Reduces Congress’ Own Budget. The agreement cuts the Legislative Branch by $103 million over last year’s level.

This year, legislation was offered in the House (H.R. 3835) that would put a freeze on federal cost-of-living pay increases through December 31, 2013, as well as the salaries of congressional staff members and all civilian federal government employees (if approved by the Senate.)
Representative Paulsen voted for that freeze on February 1st … akin to closing the barn door after the horses have gotten out.

Representative Paulsen could have exercised financial restraint as he pledged during the 2010 campaign instead taxpayers get self-promoting press releases (and the bill paying the wages.)

Prompting the question, did Representative Paulsen approve compensation increase ahead of a salary freeze ?

Representative Paulsen spent $1,273,567.46 last year on his Member’s Representational Allowance … a lot of money for a Do-Nothing Congress … instead of the rhetoric “make Congress do more with less”, TaxEnoughAlready constituents got a Congressman rewarding Government servants with higher compensation while preaching to us of the need to cut spending and failing to address his own spending.

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