Monday, April 11, 2011

Office salaries: Burchett v Ragsdale

Some folks have asked me lately about the salaries and staffing levels in the mayor’s office, since the whole fee issue mess really got going.

How many employees does he have? What are the salaries? How many pals did he hire.


I actually pulled this list back toward the end of February. Just haven’t done anything with it.


Anyhoo, county Mayor Tim Burchett has nine (including himself) folks working directly in his department. They make about $580,652 in combined pay.

Here’s the record I got from the human resources department.

Toward the end of his tenure as mayor, Mike Ragsdale had (including himself and four part-time interns – or that’s how they’re listed anyway) 12 folks in his office between Jan. 1, 2010 and Sept. 1, 2010 - his last day in office. They made around a combined $648,933.

Here’s his file.

Burchett moved some people around and combined a few positions. The most obvious change was sending Dwight Van de Vate to the engineering department where he took a slight pay cut and replaced Bruce Wuethrich.

Despite talks about not creating any new spots, technically Burchett did when he hired Communications Manager Michael “Spin Doc” Grider.

That job, though, essentially replaced Susanne Dupes, who served as director of communications and media relations, but it’s a new classified position.

The pay isn't the same. But, Grider does get to hang out on Facebook during the day because he has one of the few county computers that doesn't block the website.

Dupes also served, in part, as a spokesperson for the mayor. Burchett and his chief of staff, Dean Rice, take their own phone calls, so they don’t need someone to speak for them.

Unless of course it involves a meeting for a board on which the mayor serves.

He tends not to make those.


Brian Paone said...

...well, I'm starting to understand why the acerbity's in place, but I'll be nice this time around.

See that retarded little anonymous comment right above my own here? I bet you hear that a LOT. But I bet you never hear it from a source willing to go on the record.

Funny how that works. Even funnier, though, are some people's obsessions with previous regimes.

I've noticed you've been caught up in that quite a lot lately, Donila. The lists you've got here are nice (and very helpful - I had wondered the name of that one intern who kept shooting me dirty looks the likes of which Alison Wagley kept shooting in my direction around mid-February '09), but what's got me most curious is...

Why the stroll down a dead-end Memory Lane?

Mike Donila said...

"Why the stroll down a dead-end Memory Lane?"

As I said, in the mayor/commish effort to have the fee office budgets - the ones that relate to salaries and staffing levels - fall under them, I've been asked about the mayor's office (his direct office, not necessarily the entire executive branch).

That's what I put up.

Comparing it to the previious administration puts it in perspective.

Anonymous said...

we need to remember MTB aka mayor tim burchett stated that he would cut staff and make major changes. If Mr. Grider is trolling the internet all day...we need to know that. MTB gives the lead by example then gives his staff internet access nobody else has? What else are they doing on the internet? Watching sports? Youtube? Sounds to me like a romper room. I wonder if they are doing this to avoid Freedom of Information Act? Facebook is encrypted. https...Also take heed to the pondering of who Dean Rice was generously texting like crazy during the fee office vote...allegedly. Maybe it just looked that way. Was Dean violating sunshine and texting members of commission? Was he texting his wife? Was he not texting at all and just checked his phone for the time If he used a county phone foia....if not well in theory the DA could get a search warrent.
So why troll down memory lane? Cause the spirits of Ragsdale are still walking in CCB.

Anonymous said...

So Rice makes nearly as much money in his first year as COS as Arms, who had a Master's degree and 6 years on County Commission, did after 8 years.
And all the low-paid help are women.

Brian Paone said...

I'm sorry, Mike - I wasn't wondering why YOU were strolling down that road so much as I was wondering why people have asked you to do so. My apologies for not having been more clear on that.

(Of course, it looks quite a bit more muddled now that the anonymous comment to which I was referring is gone, but that's understandable given that comment's defamatory content.)

Isn't political fratricide fun? And when are the local Dems going to take advantage - or can they?

There you go, Donila. That's a piece I'd LOVE to read, even if delivered informally. Why so much infighting in local politics? Where did it start? Why is it so intense? Will it ever end? If so, how? If not, why?

You know. If you get bored.

Brian Paone said...

@Anonymous #1 (or #2, if we're counting the first anonymous folk) RE: reply, in order:

* Looks like staff's cut, along with payroll. If Grinder's on Facebook (and I still for the life of me can't understand the appeal FB has for some) and his computer's configured to allow it, then I fail to see why it would be a big deal unless work wasn't getting accomplished.

Has Michael Grinder been disciplined or reprimanded for excessive Facebooking? Is the quality of Mr. Grinder's work suffering?

And if your answer is "yes" to either or both, where is your incontrovertible evidence to prove it?

* I don't care what my employees do, so long as they're doing legal things and all their work is getting done. Seems quite reasonable to extend the same courtesy to my public employees as well.

Again, have you any evidence of the degradation of the quality of one of these workers' work product as a result of the extended internet privileges? Let's step away from the guessing and toward the concrete and provable here for a bit.

* ...okay, this is simply nonsense:

"I wonder if they are doing this to avoid Freedom of Information Act? Facebook is encrypted. https..."

I honestly don't know where to begin correcting this statement. Anyone with even a PASSING understanding of secure hypertext transport protocol probably shares my pain, and anyone with a decent grounding in the subject AND a Facebook account probably died laughing at it.

No offense. It's just that crazy of a statement. Facebook is about as secure as the Maginot Line was, https or no https. Further, Facebook is a social network with a business model that's HEAVY on market research.

Logs are kept. Lots of 'em. And if people are using Facebook to circumvent the Sunshine Act, they're doing so foolishly because it doesn't. ALL communications regarding to public business made by a public official are FOIA-obtainable. (Just for fun, try turning in a FOIA request one day for a commissioner's private email address. I'd start with Sam McKenzie's, but that's just me.)

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Do you have evidence that public officials are using less-than-official communications channels to conduct official business in violation of the letter and/or spirit of any applicable law?

* In RE: Dean and texting - see previous.

* It's been my experience that people often find what they seek when they are completely convinced - despite any evidence to the contrary - that what they seek exists.

What do you think of that statement, sir/ma'am?

Anonymous said...

So you choose to ignore the issue of Rice's bloated paycheck v who makes the least?

Brian Paone said...

Okay, am I dealing with ONE anonymous person, or several just using the handle? It's kinda hard to keep track.

@Anonymous #2 (or #3, depending on your scoring system) RE: comment -

I don't care. So, yeah, I chose to ignore it.

Frankly, I've never seen a reason to prefer one employee over another based on anything other than work performance. Hiring a woman specifically because she's a woman, therefore, wouldn't be something I'd ever advocate.

Kinda reminds me of the time Randy Neal's wife got all huffy about the "booth babes" at tech conventions but refused to bring down the same wrath on a women's convention that employed male strippers. (That was HILARIOUS. They're still butthurt about that, to my understanding. But anyway.)

So why should I care if Tim Burchett chose to employ a male rather than a female as his Chief of Staff? (I mean, really, if I were in his position my wife would probably force me to do the same.)

Anonymous said...

OK, you've made your point: You got no problem with paying women less than men.
But you ignored the first part of the question: Burchett campaigned on a 'no mo' bloated salaries' platform, yet starts his campaign manager buddy out at the highest salary he could get away with paying.

Brian Paone said...

@Anonymous RE: reply, in order -

* Apparently, I have failed to make my point to everyone, since you do not seem to understand it. (Whether or not this failure to understand is willful can be debated, but I digress.)

The point is that, absent any proof of unlawful discrimination, I don't care if one person is paid more or less than another. Can you prove unlawful discrimination?

If not, then there's no problem. Welcome to the 21st century. We don't play favorites here - for ANYONE.

If so - then why the hell didn't you just start with THAT instead of this nonsense? You can tug my heartstrings all you like, sir/ma'am, but I'm not one of those idiots that immediately cows at such nonsense.

Sorry to disappoint*, if you were counting on that.

* ...and yet still managed to drop the administration's salary requirements by a good $68,000 or so.

No wonder you're anonymous. I'd be just as embarrassed as you apparently are to attach my name to such a specious argument. It's almost as if you're trying to create a controversy any way you can... and doing a REALLY poor job of it.

Let's cut to the chase, shall we? This is getting dull.

* = I'm not really sorry.

Anonymous said...

Boring to bile in warp speed; your trademark. It's not very challenging to yank your chain, Paone.

Brian Paone said...

@Anonymous # It's Anyone's Guess At This Point, RE: reply -

Probably a lot more fun than trying to debate a point, too.

At least, in your case. Frankly, I find both equally entertaining, though the latter's a lot more informative.

What about you, sir/ma'am? Insults or debate? Cake or the death of an argument?

Anonymous said...

Brain Paone, he will save us.

Brian Paone said...

Everyone always chooses the cake.

Suckers. The cake is a lie.

So, if all we've got here is hyperbole and conspiracy without any evidence to support (beyond the shameful hiring of an OMG WHITE MALE by the current mayor - simply abhorrent business, that), then I guess we're on to the next?