Full-Time Employee of a Part-Time Legislature: Good Gig If You Can Get It
After looking at the raises in the RI House, the ProJo turned it’s eyes to the RI Senate and found more raises, which Senate President Paiva-Weed defended.
Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed says she sees no reason to reconsider any of the raises…As she explains it, the full picture includes: A delayed pay raise. An increase in employee health-care payments. The return to the State House, after a five-month hiatus, of the son of a prominent labor leader who is a “new hire,” not a staffer with a $50,126-a-year raise.
As a starting point, Paiva Weed, D-Newport, said all of the legislature’s employees received the same 3-percent pay increase that all state employees received in January and the same longevity bonuses that all state employees get every five years or so, so in her mind only five Senate staffers got what she considered a raise.
Here’s how Paiva-Weed legitimized one such raise:
Fiscal analyst Matthew Harvey’s recent 13.2-percent raise, from $49,399 to $55,895, reflected his promotion to Fiscal Analyst II. “I can give you his résumé,” Paiva Weed said. “An incredible professional and, in order to keep someone like him in these difficult fiscal times, we certainly needed to raise him to the second level of the pay scale.”
Well, that makes no sense. Read it again: “in order to keep someone like him in these difficult fiscal times, we certainly needed to raise him to the second level of the pay scale.” Uh. Since these are difficult fiscal times, my guess is he wasn’t going anywhere. Or are there a bunch of hidden fiscal analyst jobs that we don’t know about? And if he did go, well, then you just saved some money!
The ProJo also published a couple helpful charts that show the payroll for the Part Time Legislature (which comprises about 85% of it’s budget) has increased 21.5% since 2009. I wonder why?
Paiva Weed took particular umbrage as the characterization of Senate staffer Stephen Iannazzi’s 132-percent pay increase as a raise.
A one-time page, Iannazzi’s first full-time job at the State House was as a $35,110-a-year “secretary” in February 2009. He had worked his way up to a $37,986-a-year policy researcher by the time he left last July. He was hired back in December as an $85,546-a-year special assistant to Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, and got a 3-percent raise the following month that boosted his salary to $88,112.
Ruggerio, D-North Providence, confirmed that his aide is the 25-year-old son of Donald Iannazzi, business manager for Local 1033, the Laborers International Union affiliate that employs his own 30-year-old lawyer son, Charles Ruggerio.
“You keep characterizing that one as an increase. It was not an increase. He left the building. He’s a new hire,” said Paiva Weed, on the day this week that Local 1033 agreed to wage concessions for about 900 city workers.
Gotta love lawyer-speak. “He left the building”. Yeah, and walked right back in when a 132% raise was put in front of him. Nice little gig the Ruggerio and Iannazzi families have going there, no?