Afternoon News Briefs: Governor Walker reinstates merit payWisconsin News
-- We’re learning more today about merit pay raises and bonuses being given to state government workers, at a time when most had their take home pay cut.
We’re learning more today about merit pay raises and bonuses being given to state government workers, at a time when most had their take home pay cut. A Madison TV station and the Capital Times have done stories on about $300,000 dollars in bonuses given to 93 Justice Department workers. This afternoon, the Associated Press said 218 total state employees have been promised $765,000 dollars in total merit raises and bonuses. Governor Scott Walker quietly reinstated merit pay over a month ago, after former Governor Jim Doyle cut it off in 2008. But the AP says state agencies were asked to delay the extra compensation at least until new fiscal year begins on July first. And in any case, Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said agencies had to find the money within their budgets for the bonuses and no new state money could be spent. Huebsch said Walker wanted to reward top performers, similar to what the private sector does. The UW System also promised about $300,000 dollars in merit raises and bonuses. And five UW employees got the largest amounts awarded in the government, $5500 dollars. University spokesman David Giroux told the AP the bonuses went to those who took on extra responsibility, while getting larger pay offers from elsewhere. Giroux said it was about quote, “hanging on to the people we need to get the job done.”
State Attorney General J.B. Hollen says he’s very concerned about voter fraud in the six upcoming recall elections. Voters will not have to show photo ID’s at either the May eighth primaries or the June fifth general elections. That’s because a judge says he will not rule until after those elections in a lawsuit that seeks to permanently strike down the ID requirement. A preliminary injunction is holding up the law until that ruling. Meanwhile, Van Hollen has asked an appeals court to overturn another rejection of the ID law in a different lawsuit. Van Hollen said today that voter fraud is always a risk – and he says there’s no reason to believe it would be any less of a concern in the recall voting.
A technical college student from Hartland was named today to the board that governs all 16 Wisconsin tech schools. Governor Scott Walker appointed Natalie Cruz as the student representative on the tech panel. Cruz earned a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma in business administration. And she’s working toward an early childhood education degree at Waukesha County Technical College. Cruz is a student teacher in the college’s Child Development Center, and she serves on the school’s Service Learning Advisory Council.