Rep. Randy Pinocci puts in 16 hour days… on Facebook.
Governor Bullock, Democrats, moderate Republicans, state agencies, and business leaders have gathered together to push for a modest raise for state employees. The raise translates to about fifty cents an hour. As we said, that’s a pretty modest raise that could benefit the State of Montana in very significant ways. A raise could help the state recruit and retain high quality employees while injecting money back into the economy.
During a hearing on HB 13 (the state pay plan, which includes the 50 cents raise) on March 15th, leaders from Montana’s state agencies, universities, and business testified in support of the modest raise. Their message was clear: Montana is bleeding talent and losing out to other state. Furthermore, some of Montana’s state employees live on food stamps – how does that make financial sense? It doesn’t.
During the hearing on the state pay plan, two dozen Montanans spoke in support of the bill. There were no opponents, but that didn’t stop some legislators from ignoring reality and asking asinine questions, like, “how would HB 13 impact the average tax payer?” And therein lies the problem. Some legislators don’t view hardworking state employees as average taxpayers with families to support. They view them as a symptom of big government, which is ironic given that those same legislators depend on state employees to mow the grass around the capitol, feed them at lunch, and write their bills for them. Yes – state employees do all of that.
By failing to keep state employees’ pay in line with increased costs of living, Montana legislators are hurting the state economy and the budget’s bottom-line (i.e. paying for food stamps instead of generating revenue).
The position of some hardline legislators goes from asinine to offensive, especially in the case of Randy Pinocci. If you haven’t had a chance, read Don Pogreba’s great piece about Pinocci here.
Pinocci represents everything wrong with the Montana Legislature’s position towards state employees. During an interview with the Great Falls Tribune, Pinocci whined, “I don’t know any state employee who makes the wages I make, $5 an hour for 16-hour days,” he said. Yes, Pinocci claims that he works 16-hour days. Pogreba has put some pretty big holes in that claim with screenshots shwoing the Representative playing videogames on Facebook while the House is in session. Yikes.
However, let’s pretend Pinocci works 16-hour days, ok? State employees are taking care of almost his every need while he’s “working.” They’re cleaning the bathrooms (he uses), shoveling the sidewalk (he walks on), safeguarding the roads (he drives home on), and so on and so forth. Perhaps it’s time for people like Pinocci to start showing hardworking Montana state employees some respect.