Wisconsin's budget crisis was so severe that, according to Gov. Scott Walker, pay cuts for public workers across the state were an absolute must. Pay cuts for rank-and-file public workers, that is. For teachers and librarians and snowplow drivers and custodians. The state's managers and lawyers, though, are a different story:
An analysis of data The Associated Press obtained through an open records request showed Wisconsin agencies have handed out more than $765,000 in bonuses and merit raises this year to nearly 220 employees.
The money was awarded under a program former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle suspended but Walker reinstated last year.
That includes nearly $300,000 in raises and bonuses to staff at the Department of Justice, which had previously tried to cut its Sexual Assault Victim Services program's grants by 42.5 percent for budgetary reasons. Assistant Attorney General Maria Lazar and Deputy Attorney General Kevin St. John got raises of $3,000 and $5,000.
The Republican governor's top aide, Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, said Walker brought the program back because he felt it was important to mirror the private sector and provide rewards for outstanding work.
Scott Walker is literally, explicitly promoting two different systems for public workers: If you're already high up the food chain, you should be eligible for more, regardless of the state's budget situation. If you're just another worker making sure kids are educated or streets are safe, you should face cuts and be blamed for budget problems.
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