Lazich accepts generous raise, implies state employees don’t deserve same

A few days ago, I asked if State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) would give back her 5.3% pay raise for this year, and along with that blog entry, I sent Sen. Lazich an email. Today I got an answer to my question:

Dear Zachary:

Thank you for your e-mail about the legislative pay raise.

In the past, I have returned legislative pay raises to the state in the form of submitting written monthly checks, only to see first-hand during one budget process after another how the state subsequently squanders the money. Returning the pay raise, I am afraid would only result in moiré wasted expenditures. Therefore, I have decided to accept the pay raise that I will use toward charitable contributions.

In addition to explaining that she’s going to accept her very generous pay raise, Sen. Lazich took a moment in her email to explain that she voted against approving state employment contracts for the 2007-2009 biennium because the raises negotiated for state employees were simply too generous. In defense of her argument, Sen. Lazich cited a memo she received from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau which indicated that state employees would receive a minimum raise of 8.00% total from 2007 to 2009. The memo in question compares the state employment contract raises to the qualified economic offer (QEO) raises employees of school districts receive using a methodology the LFB admits is problematic (much like comparing apples and tomatoes), and what Sen. Lazich seems loathe to admit is that in terms of real dollars, the raises state employees received over three years are in many cases less than the 5.3% raise Sen. Lazich will receive this year alone.

For example, the memo Sen. Lazich cited indicates the Professional Social Services (PSS) bargaining unit received an 8.00% raise for the 2007-2009 biennium (when compared to the QEO), but in real actual dollars (not some number obtained using suspect methods), state employees working in the PSS bargaining unit received a 5% raise over the three years of the 2007-2009 biennium, a figure lower than Sen. Lazich’s own 5.3% raise for 2009 alone.

In choosing to vote against giving state employees a 5% raise over three years while accepting her own 5.3% raise for just 2009, Sen. Lazich has clearly demonstrated that she holds state employees with little regard.


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12 thoughts on “Lazich accepts generous raise, implies state employees don’t deserve same

  1. capper, I’d like to know as well. To be honest, her argument in support of her decision to vote against the last state employee contracts is as weak as it gets, and not once have I ever heard her talk real dollars when it comes to those pay raises.

  2. Great job Mary Lazich. Its hard not to notice the large amount of whining that occurs with all the state bargaining units. Before one makes an ethical assessment of right and wrong regarding who is deserving of pay raises, lets first survey the PSS, PSRP, and AFL/CIO state employees. I would like to see how many in numbers have worked a 50 hour workweek without overtime in the name of serving the public. When one works a 38 hour workweek with 12 holidays, earned sick days and 4 weeks off every year, one expect fingers to point at what appears to be laziness. Its time for wholesale cuts in the head count.
    If you havent noticed, Im estimating there are thousands of hard working Wisconsinites who would love to serve the public at current wages froze as they are.

  3. So LaFay, I take it by your comments you’d be willing to work a 50 hour workweek without getting compensated for the full 50 hours? Am I also to assume you’d be perfectly happy to work a job and not get a raise?

    Oh, and just to dispel any misinformation, employees of the state – at least all the ones I know – work 40 hour workweeks; not 38 hours, and not all state employees get 4 weeks of vacation.

    As for your assertion there are thousands of hard working Wisconsinites who would love to serve the public at current wages, I don’t dispute that, but if those same folks would love to work for the state, all they need to do is apply for a job.

  4. Thats just the way private industry works. Have you ever wondered what its like to work for a startup company? One that actually creates jobs that pay taxes instead of milking taxpayers. Many, many 50 hour weeks with no pay. Thats how it works.
    real wages in the rest of the country are flat or declined in the past 10 year period, except those for Wisconsin bargaining units. Im certain many new folks will apply, the truly talented and exceptional are what the state should be employing. To do that requires leadership to eliminate the deadwood to make way. I expect this is about to happen. Watch and see.

  5. LaFay, I have a question about your most recent response. You said, “Have you ever wondered what its like to work for a startup company? One that actually creates jobs that pay taxes instead of milking taxpayers.”

    Now I’m just curious…are you asserting that state employees don’t pay taxes on their wages? That seems to be what you’re saying, and I want to be absolutely clear on the point you’re trying to make.

  6. Of course state employee pay taxes. Does that justify annual increases above the rate of inflation. Ive had the luxury of living outside this state and than working alongside state employees in a rather sized agency for 7 months as a contractor. First hand accounts my friend of the laziest slow moving people determined to put everything off until tomorow that is possible, and if its due tomorow, thats a callin day planned in advance. Two people from the same area not 40 feet apart working the identical work with deliberate duplication to justify PSS position. As a taxpayer, very sickening to watch. As a business owner, incorporate in Delaware. My point was simple, every organization feels the pinch of recession, unless your a Wis. state employee. Its simply time they feel the value the jobs they hold and stop whining about subsidized food breaks in between structured breaks or grievance meetings. Lets count all the hours for a year that state people have spent in grievance meetings and make that public. The Wisconsin taxpayer deserves to know how much slop they get for there dollar.

  7. “Does that justify annual increases above the rate of inflation.”

    The inflation rate in 2007 was 2.85%. PSS employees received a 2% raise that year. By my math, PSS employees received a raise below the rate of inflation, which seems to debunk your assertion.

  8. Better yet 8:51, tell us what union you’re in, what you had and what you’ll lose.
    Maybe that way there wouldn’t be this preception that you guys got such a sweet deal at the expense of us taxpayers.

    See me and some of my buddies have lost our jobs and we now work at jobs that pay about 1/2 to 1/3 as much and have no where near the benefits we had.

    When we hear that teachers have this QED or whatever thing and they still bitch when they get a 3.8% raise, see it ticks us off.

    They’re crying cause the raise isn’t enough. They have no clue what it must be like to keep your family fed when you’re making half of what you did and then you have to pay COBRA healthcare costs just to keep your family covered for big health problems.

    See I have NO sympathy for the public sector guys. They are in the same bucket as the UAW auto workers in my book. Whiners and entitlement slugs.

  9. “Therefore, I have decided to accept the pay raise that I will use toward charitable contributions.”

    Nuance, folks, nuance…

    “…I will use it toward charitable contributions.”

    Does Lazich mean ALL of the 5.3% increase? She didn’t say that.

  10. Blue Collar/LaFay, if you think a 2% raise is a “sweet deal,” then I don’t think there’s much I can say to change your opinion. My original point in writing this entry was not to complain that I didn’t get enough – in fact, I was happy to get any raise at all – but my point was to point out the hypocrisy of a state lawmaker voting against a raise for state employees while turning around and accepting an even larger raise for herself.

    As for your comment that public sector guys are whiners and entitlement slugs, I’ll just note that if you think state employees have it so easy, then you should seriously think about applying for a job as a corrections officer, because I’m sure you’ll find state employment isn’t as easy as you think it is.

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