Haslam defends commissioners' pay increases

Haslam defends commissioners' pay increases

April 12th, 2011 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks to reporters after a jobs training announcement outside the state Capitol in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. An Associated Press analysis of public records shows the new governor has boosted pay for his commissioners. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks to reporters after a...

NASHVILLE - Gov. Bill Haslam told state employees today he won't apologize for hiking his new commissioners' pay by 11 percent while proposing just 1.6 percent increases for the state's estimated 45,000 other employees.

The governor, who took office in January, sought to draw distinctions between his cabinet and the vast majority of state employees, noting "these were folks who were hired to come into government."

Commissioners, he told East Tennessee members of the State Employees Association, "took over $1 million in pay cuts to come work for the state government."

He said his administration is committed to "as much as possible" make state salaries for regular state employees "market based." He said his proposed 1.6 percent increase, the first for state employees in three years, is a start.

But as for the commissioners, Haslam said, "I won't apologize for that. My job is to get the very best people I can and help us as we have to cut $1.8 billion from the budget."

For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Follow the latest political news at Facebook.com/PoliticsTN.