Joel Connelly of the Seattle P-I recently reported that the Attorney General's office awarded $599,000 in cash bonuses to exempt employees in FY 2009 -- more than any other state agency. A spokesperson for Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican, is quoted as defending the bonuses as "a fiscally responsible and highly accountable form of recognition."
The Northwest Progressive Institute isn't buying it. "We've lost track of how many times we have heard Republicans both inside and outside of state government claim that state employees are too well paid and that government is wasteful. And yet, here we have a situation where state employees working for a Republican were given bonuses well after it had become painfully clear that we were facing an unprecedented budget crisis."
SHB 2998, sponsored by Rep. Larry Seaquist (D-26), extending the temporary ban on cash bonuses for state workers, was recently approved by the Senate Ways & Means Committee. We are grateful for the leadership of Rep. Seaquist, along with Rep. Mike Armstrong (R-12) and Rep. Sam Hunt (D-22), on this issue. -- Dennis