One often hears that the speaker of the Rhode Island House is the most powerful politician (along with the Senate president) in the state, but it takes a while to develop an appreciation of what the means. Here, for one indication, is evidence of their royal ability to dispense paid time off without having to face public scrutiny:
As a matter of stated policy, General Assembly employees are “capped at 140 hours of comp time per year.” Working the standard 35-hour state workweek, that would be tantamount to a month off.
But, “exceptions can be granted by the speaker or president to exceed the cap,” and this year, legislative spokesman Larry Berman acknowledges, the leaders granted an undisclosed number of additional hours, days and possibly weeks to 51 unidentified legislative staffers.
Had they been paid overtime, Berman acknowledges, those payments would be public information.