12.29.2008

Ziggy tries to get by on $125,900

Manitowoc County Exec and State rep Bob Ziegelbauer announced today that he "will be returning my scheduled pay raise for this session."

Brave action Ziggy, maybe in your press release you should have mentioned that you also will be receiving $75,813 in pay as County Exec in Manitowoc.

Ziegelbauer, however, rightly points out in his press release:

Note to the press: Since these raises occur only once every two years, in fairness, this increase ought to be described as a "5.3% over two years" or "equivalent to a 2.65% annual increase", not simply as a "5.3% pay increase".
What he doesn't point out is that his scheduled annual pay increase as County Exec is about 3.5%, from $78,500. Even greater than his increase in Legislative pay.

Now, I don't point this out specifically to dump on Ziegelbauer. I do it to point out the stupidity of the entire exercise.

Lawmakers, like any other worker, are entitled to a fair wage. It is not out of line to increase their pay by a level close to inflation.

But, stupid politics dictates that these leggies need to deny themselves this raise. If a Rep had some guts, they would say that the raise is not out of line, and they have bills to pay just like any other WI resident. Most of them are your representatives as their only full-time job.

If anything else, we should let the market speak, maybe if salaries were larger for these people, we might get a better quality employee to run...

Either way, Ziegelbauer is not a hero for refusing the raise, he is just another politician - making a symbolic stance that is in essence meaningless and of no consequence to his entire pay package.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Since we are very transparent here, please tell us the percent/real dollar pay increases for Winnebago County elected people including board supervisors, county executive, coroner etc. over the last 5 years. That way we can at least compare politicians to politicians. Thank you.

Eric said...

Jef, I've gotta disagree with your conclusion that legislators should defend their pay raises. Why should legislators, who only work 3 days a week, get paid well above the median income for an individual? I don't disagree with letting the market speak but let's do it in a way that helps average people: lock legislative salaries to the state median income. If the average Wisconsinite becomes wealthier then legislators will too. If they become poorer, legislators do too. In the end, legislators become more responsive to the needs of constituents and it could begin to repair the horrible reputation the legislature has.

Jef Hall said...

The Winnebago County Board did get a raise this year. It was the first one we had in over a decade. We now get $44 for a committee meeting and $66 for a full board or all day meeting (up from $40 & $60).

I will have made about $3200 this year as a board member. I serve on 5 boards or committees.

Eric, no one (other than Ziggy) is getting rich in government. I think it is unfair to your reps that you want them to earn part-time wages for a full time job.

Sure, they only have general session 3 days a week, but committee meetings are more than that. And, if your rep didn't show up at your local community event (Rotary, school, church picnic, parade, etc.) you would be pretty upset.

Also, there is a lot of constituent service and 'homework' to do out of session. Do you want your rep voting on legislation that they haven't read and researched?

We have not even mentioned the time doing doors and proactively contacting constituents.

Any decent Assembly Rep or Senator in WI will put in much more than a full-time workweek. (Note: I said decent, I will not accept that they all do a decent job.) I can assure you that as a member of the Winnebago County Board, I spend a lot of time on homework and meeting prep.

I used to have a boss at an entry level job I served my time in who, when arguing for a pay increase for her direct reports used the phrase:

"Pay peanuts, get a bunch of monkeys..."

I think this often describes some of the bad apples we have in government. There are many people in government that work hard and do a great job because they have a passion for government.

There are also those who feed at the public trough in safe seats and do not think that government is a worthwhile cause. They should not be there.

The ones who do a great job and truly work at this full-time or more deserve the raise.

If we had higher pay and/or campaign finance reform we could have the incentive and the means to weed some of the bad apples out of the bunch.

But, the point is still valid that Ziggy is making an empty gesture in the grand scheme.

Anonymous said...

OK, you get $44.00 for < 4 hours & $66.00 for > 4 hours. Plus fuel, travel, hotels, seminars, meals, etc. Sounds reasonable for a very part time job; not 24/7 and you can earn or not depending on your activity level. What about the other full time elected people. You cited Ziggy's county exec. gig, how does that compare over five years, in addition to previously asked, coroner, etc?

Anonymous said...

Man it was hard to find the county budget over the last years on your web site (transparency ?), but, it said the county board of supervisors budget for 2008 was $313,254.00. I couldn't even find 2009. I don't know how many of you there are or what this pays for, but, if you only earned 3k, you sure got cheated by the tax payers. Anyway, what service does the other $300,000.00 provide us working folks? We are in some trouble if you haven't noticed.

Anonymous said...

Cool, no time here for truth about your fattttty budget stuff, see you soon in a more fair budget debate. Hope that works for you mister haull....

Jef Hall said...

The budget for pay for County Board supervisors in 2009 is $146,228 or about $4,000/Supervisor.

Some will be less, the Chair will get more (he gets a $5000/year above meeting per diems as the board manager).

Other parts of the County Board budget above and beyond Supervisor pay is mileage reimbursement ($38,568), membership dues ($24,589), publishing legal notices of meetings ($20,000) and a lot of clerical and office costs.

As for a copy of the budget, it is not hidden really well, go to http://www.co.winnebago.wi.us/ and look at the top right hand corner where it says 2009 Adopted Budget.

Click on that.

Anonymous said...

So the total cost to tax payers in 2009 for your services, travel food/drink etc. is what? What percent increase over 5 years and same for exec. since criticism of Ziggy was the topic that you began with. No, the 5 year historical trends are not provide or your techy skills are better than most of your constituents. Is there an actual book for seniors to read and find analysis of the trends?

Jef Hall said...

Maybe you should click on the link I pointed out.

2005-2009 is listed there.

Anonymous said...

I take it you are less familiar with the taxes associated with political salaries and benefits in Winnebago v. Manitowoc county. I will find it for you and share the data.