published Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Dem leaders says Gov. Haslam may have ‘usurped’ power

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is pictured in this file photo. (Photo by Wade Payne, Special to the News Sentinel)
Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is pictured in this file photo. (Photo by Wade Payne, Special to the News Sentinel)

NASHVILLE — A top House Democratic leader today questioned whether Gov. Bill Haslam “usurped” legislative authority by unilaterally denying 1.6 percent pay raises to hundreds of state workers disciplined over the past year.

“I think it’s wrong,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville told reporters. “There’s a disciplinary process for somebody who does something that is wrong or deemed wrong.”

Haslam, a Republican, blocked across-the-board cost-of-living increases for 771 state employees. Of that number, 556 didn’t get the July 1 increases because of a decision by Haslam and his cabinet that they shouldn’t have a raise because they had been disciplined in the previous 12 months.

Another 163 didn't get a raise because of poor performance evaluations, a provision long incorporated in budgetary language.

Human Resources figures show 52 more workers didn't see the cost-of-living adjustment after receiving a low evaluation and also being the recipient of disciplinary action.

“This was kind of like piling it on,” Turner said. “We didn’t talk about this when we put it [across the board pay increases] ... The intent of the legislature was to give those to everybody and it appears to me the governor has usurped some legislative power and that was not our intent.”

Haslam spokesman David Smith said, "We believe the actions are appropriate and that Tennesseans agree."

The governor is visiting Tennessee troops in Iraq and Kuwait this week.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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before1999 said...

I think that Mr. Mike Turner needs to check and see who he is working for. In my job, which by the way is a civilian job, if you are disciplined you don't get a raise. Raises are for rewards not for problem employees. Maybe Mr. Turner should work for free and give his salary to those that are disciplined.

August 3, 2011 at 1:43 p.m.
dregstudios said...

Don't they know that Billy Boy does whatever he wants including violation the Constitution and First Amendment? He thinks he's a cowboy and is passing illegal legislation left and right. I was compelled to create a visual commentary in response Governor Haslam’s blatant smothering of Civil Rights in our state on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/07/potentially-offensive-portrait-governor.html where you can see my new portrait of the Governor and First Lady of TN to defend Freedom of Speech.

August 3, 2011 at 2:25 p.m.
HCE said...

The action that was taken against them at the time of the offense whether it was suspension or whatever was considered the discipline at the time. How can you come back a yr. later and re-pusnish for the same offense. I'd like to know how many of his staff who received the 11% raise shouldn't be eligible. As if given the people that actually do the job a 1.6% raise and all his "YES" men an 11% wasn't enough to drop morale, he then had to pour salt in the wound by taking that away. Im sure there's a project waiting to be funded with that money somewhere.

August 3, 2011 at 3:38 p.m.
01centare said...

I agree with HCE and dreg. Even in the private sector annual cost of living raises are normally given across board without any reference to an employee having been disciplined. Only during regular job quarterly or six month evaluations of an employee might that employee raise be withheld or lowered based on performance.

August 3, 2011 at 5:36 p.m.
onetinsoldier said...

COST OF LIVING has nothing to do with performance. If the dicipline actions didn't call for salary reduction then what this Bozo has done should be a violation of their rights. COST OF LIVING happens to everyone. A little common sense PLEASE.

August 3, 2011 at 5:43 p.m.
rolando said...

Well, if anyone knows anything about usurping power, that's the Dems. Our Usurper-In-Chief in the WH is the prime example of unconstitutional acts.

August 3, 2011 at 9:05 p.m.
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