GOPocrisy, Rick Snyder — November 25, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Michigan government investment experts now earn more money than the governor after 80+% pay raise – UPDATED


It’s a good gig if you can get it

See updates below.

The Snyder administration recently gave three of its investment experts massive pay raises, making them some of the highest paid members of his administration. One of them, chief investment officer, Jon Braeutigam, makes more than the Governor and the Lt. Governor combined!

The State of Michigan quietly increased the salaries of its top investment officials in the Treasury Department by more than 80% this year, saying it was too difficult to attract and keep qualified people under the former pay rates.

Jon Braeutigam, the state’s chief investment officer, got a 90% pay raise to $333,000 a year from $175,000, department spokesman Terry Stanton confirmed Friday.

Treasury’s two senior directors of investment — Robert Brackenbury and Greg Parker — received 82% pay increases, boosting them from $128,000 to $233,000 a year.

Richard Baird, the top aide to Gov. Rick Snyder, confirmed to the Free Press that he was instrumental in adjusting the salaries. […]

In addition, 38 employees of the Bureau of Investments will share in a total of $380,000 in “performance incentive payments” this year, based on how money they manage in the state’s defined benefit pension plan has performed compared to comparable plans.

Let’s take a look at some of the salaries our government officials make:

Position Name Annual Salary
Governor Rick Snyder $159,300
Lt. Governor Brian Calley $123,900
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson $124,900
Attorney General Bill Schuette $124,900
Treasurer R. Kevin Clinton $174,204
Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. $164,610
Assoc. Supreme Ct. Justice Various $164,610
Transformation manager Richard Baird $140,000
State legislator Various $82,485
Chief Investment Officer Jon Braeutigam $333,000
Sr. Dir. of Investment Robert Brackenbury $233,000
Sr. Dir. of Investment Greg Parker $233,000

Jon Braeutigam is, in fact, now the highest paid member of the Michigan state government.

So, after telling us that raising the minimum wage in Michigan would be “a challenge”, the governor was happy to give these three investment gurus a huge increase in salary, justified by saying that they couldn’t find people to fill the spots despite the fact that the spots were filled when he did it.

Progress Michigan’s Sam Inglot put it this way on their website:

While Gov. Snyder believes it would be a ‘challenge’ to increase the minimum wage by a few dollars, it was a piece of cake to give his top-officials hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay increases. Rick Snyder is running the Capitol like Wall Street, where investment professionals get massive pay raises, while folks on Main Street get stuck footing the bill.

What this tells us is that the Snyder administration sees investment bankers, people who create nothing tangible, are worth more than, say, a legislator. Or the Treasurer. Or the Secretary of State. Heck of the Governor and the Lt. Governor combined!

Meanwhile they are cutting staff at the state government and imposing more and more austerity on government workers telling us that the government is “too big” and that our government workers, the people who do the bulk of the work, make too much in salary and benefits. Unless you’re in the Treasury Department, of course.

Ray Holman, legislative liaison for UAW Local 6000, the largest state employee union, put it like this:

When you run those big salaries and big pay increases, it doesn’t sit well when you talk about the state workforce that has made significant concessions over the last decade.

Josh Pugh, communications director for the Michigan Democratic Party, was equally blunt:

[Governor Snyder] calls for accountability for state workers and shared sacrifice and yet again and again it’s just another example of him favoring … the wealthy and the well-connected over the rights of working people.

That’s a great message for the middle class and the workers of our state, Governor Snyder. It all goes back to a quote from Vice President Joe Biden that rings so true year after year:

Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.

What Governor Snyder values is now completely evident. Spoiler alert to average Michigan workers: it ain’t you.

UPDATED: Democratic candidate for Governor Mark Schauer is calling on Governor Snyder to reverse the pay raises:

Michigan needs a Governor who’s on the side of regular people. Last week told us a lot about Rick Snyder. First he opposed a modest increase in the minimum wage. Then he chose to give his top political appointees huge raises and bonuses. The Governor should do the right thing by reversing these excessive raises to save taxpayer dollars. When I’m Governor, I’ll fight to raise the minimum wage to lift the incomes of over 1 million Michigan workers, because we need an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy and the well-connected.

David Hecker, president of the American Federation of Teachers – Michigan weighs in:

Shame on state officials who place a higher price tag on Treasury Department employees’ salaries instead of investing in Michigan’s kids. In Snyder’s first year in office alone, he successfully cut over $2 billion from education funding. Instead of putting state funding where it belongs – in the classroom– officials are foolishly throwing exorbitant raises at employees who already make way more than Michigan’s hard-working educators. They argue big raises are needed to attract and keep qualified people, then the same argument should apply to retaining quality teachers and support staff. It’s time for leaders in Lansing to make our kids, and a quality education, their top priority.

[Caricature by DonkeyHotey from photos by Anne C. Savage for Eclectablog]