>On my first post this morning, about cutting funding for ADAP, I said:
“This is a crisis in South Carolina, and our legislators, and our wonderful new governor, Nikki Haley, are doing nothing about.”
And I received this response, from “Anonymous”, of course:
There is a financial crisis in South Carolina and Nikki is trying to do something about it you fucking dumbass…
So, Anonymous, you ill-informed asshat, this is how Nikki Haley handles the financial crisis in South Carolina; she gives raises!
Nikki Haley ran for Governor of South Carolina on a platform of transparency in government and being a fiscal conservative. Well, the transparency part didn’t work so well, as we continually learned that she failed to disclose some of her earnings, and that she has a bit of a problem paying her income taxes unless the state threatens to put a lean on her home.
But, hey, South Carolina, you voted for this Mark-Sanford-In-A-Dress-Mother-Effer because, on election day, you ran down the ballot clicking everything with an ‘R’ by it. So, you, who voted for her, can zip it. Now.
I, on the other hand, didn’t vote for her. I didn’t like that she got away with not paying taxes unless threatened. I didn’t think that sent the right message. And, as for being transparent, the only thing transparent about Nikki Haley is that she is out for Nikki Haley. This job is a stepping-stone for something greater–at least until those continuous nasty rumors of infidelity rear their ugly head again. I mean, I see an Appalachian Trail Hike in Haley’s future, too.
But I digress.
Fiscal conservative Nikki Haley continued paying her campaign staff from her campaign accounts even as they took taxpayer-paid jobs with her transition team. In fact, she used $26,000 of her campaign money to pay these staffers even after they moved onto the public payroll.
How is this transparent? Well, it’s clear that she’s paying her staffers for their loyalty and, no doubt, their silence. Why else would she do it? If they were bonuses for a job well done, make a big public to-do about it. But, Nikki, as Nikki is wont to do, stayed silent.
Her mouthpiece, Marisa Crawford, after the story broke, did say, “Those numbers reflect performance-based bonuses paid to staff in order to fulfill their initial hiring agreements.”
Again, why wait until the story broke? Hoping to keep it on the down low?
- Tim Pearson is Haley’s chief of staff and earns $125,000 a year. He was also Haley’s campaign manager and was paid up to $18,000 for the 10-week transition, with $7,875 in campaign pay after the election.
- Rob Godfrey is Haley’s chief spokesman and earns $65,000 a year. He was paid $10,000 by the transition and received $6,845 from the campaign after the election.
- Rebecca Schimsa is Pearson’s special assistant and earns $60,000. The transition paid Schimsa up to $10,000 and the campaign paid her $4,853 after the election.
- Madison Walker has a $30,000 salary as Haley’s director of boards and commissions. She was paid up to $6,000 by the transition and $3,250 after the election.
Hmmm, I guess it pays to stay on Haley’s good side.
State Democratic Party executive director Jay Parmley said campaign bonuses and staff pay increases raise credibility issues for Haley, who shortly after winning the election announced salary and hiring freezes–unless you work specifically for Nikki Haley, then you get a big bonus and a raise. Parley: “Even if it is legal–and I’m not saying it’s illegal–I would think the governor would be more sensitive to the public impression and how she is paying her staff. She’s already giving them huge raises.”
Raises? On top of bonuses? So much for limited government and all of Nikki’s Teabagger pandering.
With South Carolina facing a $1 billion budget shortfall, Nikki Haley went ahead and gave huge pay raises to top members of her staff, and she did so on her first day in office. She also gave out big salaries to newly-created positions within the governor’s office.
- Tim Pearson got a 27.5% pay raise over what the previous chief-of-staff made under Sanford. A 27.5% raise when South Carolina is in the midst of a budget crisis.
- Trey Walker–Haley’s deputy chief of staff for communications and legislative affairs will be paid $122,775 a year, which represents a 42.3% increase over the second-highest paid staffer in the Sanford administration.
- Swati Patel–Nikki’s lawyer…and I’m sure she’s gonna need one–will be paid $102,000 a year, a 36% increase over the $75,000 a year that Sanford paid his top lawyer.
By comparison, when Mark Sanford was governor there was only one person who took home a six-figure salary, and that was Mark Sanford. He made $106,078, a salary that is set by law and will not change, even for Nikki Haley. And where Mark Sanford’s office had eight employees making $50,000 a year or more, Haley’s office has twelve, all of whom are being paid more than their predecessors.
In an economic decline, with double-digit unemployment, running on a campaign of fiscal conservatism and transparency, Nikki Haley, as she was offering these raises and bonuses, and creating all sorts of new jobs, actually announced that she was streamlining government.
You voted for her, South Carolina, and so, as I said earlier, you can just zip it, and learn from it, and next time, if we survive until next time, pay attention, and don’t vote ‘R’ just because it’s a ‘R’.