Haslam 'won't apologize' for Cabinet pay hikes - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Haslam 'won't apologize' for Cabinet pay hikes

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday said he won't apologize for his decision to give many of his department heads big raises while proposing only a 1.6 percent increase for other state workers.

The Republican governor was asked after a speech to members of the Tennessee State Employees Association whether he understood that the disparity could be demoralizing for rank-and-file state employees.

Haslam responded that it was a fair question but the raises were justified because most of his Cabinet members are taking a pay cut from their previous private-sector jobs, totaling more than $1 million.

"I have commissioners who had very good jobs, making good salaries, and gave up something to work for the state," said Haslam, who took office in January. "I won't apologize for that at all. My job is to get the very best people we can."

The Associated Press reported last week that Haslam has raised the minimum salary for a dozen commissioners by 11 percent to $150,000. Eight other department heads' salaries were left unchanged.

"I'm going to do my very best to ensure that our jobs are all market-competitive," Haslam said.

Haslam's top-paid Cabinet member, Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, now earns $200,000, while his predecessor in former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen's administration made $180,000.

Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons is making about $178,000, an increase of nearly $43,000, or 32 percent, over the last person to hold the position.

Huffman made about $230,000 as a vice president of Teach for America in 2009, according to the nonprofit organization's latest federal tax filing, while Gibbons made about $144,000 in his previous job as chief prosecutor in Shelby County.

"These weren't people who were working for the government, and we gave them raises," Haslam said. "I actually went out and tried to hire the very best Cabinet officers that I could, understanding they can make help make the hard calls for the budget position that we're in."

TSEA President Phil Morson issued a statement last week declaring the organization was "shocked" to hear of Haslam's pay increases for Cabinet members.

"This is unfair," he said. "It is a slap in the face to the every-day state worker who has the same right as those at the top to be valued for their hard work and competence."

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • Heartland NewsMore>>

  • This week in music: 1984

    This week in music: 1984

    Monday, August 20 2018 7:31 AM EDT2018-08-20 11:31:50 GMT

    Let's do a little time traveling.  This morning we head back to the 80's, specifically the late summer of 1984. 

    Let's do a little time traveling.  This morning we head back to the 80's, specifically the late summer of 1984. 

  • Dorena-Hickman Ferry closed for dredging work

    Dorena-Hickman Ferry closed for dredging work

    Tuesday, August 21 2018 6:54 AM EDT2018-08-21 10:54:15 GMT
    The ferry is closed for dredging work (Source: KFVS)The ferry is closed for dredging work (Source: KFVS)

    A ferry between Kentucky and Missouri is closed this week while dredging work is completed.

    A ferry between Kentucky and Missouri is closed this week while dredging work is completed.

  • First Alert: Cool, gloomy day with scattered showers

    First Alert: Cool, gloomy day with scattered showers

    Tuesday, August 21 2018 6:44 AM EDT2018-08-21 10:44:03 GMT
    Tuesday's cool down will last through the week (Source: James Gullage of Humboldt, TN)Tuesday's cool down will last through the week (Source: James Gullage of Humboldt, TN)
    Tuesday's cool down will last through the week (Source: James Gullage of Humboldt, TN)Tuesday's cool down will last through the week (Source: James Gullage of Humboldt, TN)

    Laura Wibbenmeyer says the best rain chances will be in our northeastern half of the Heartland.

    Laura Wibbenmeyer says the best rain chances will be in our northeastern half of the Heartland.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Man admits slaying wife, blames her for daughters' deaths

    Man admits slaying wife, blames her for daughters' deaths

    Tuesday, August 21 2018 12:15 AM EDT2018-08-21 04:15:23 GMT
    Tuesday, August 21 2018 8:28 AM EDT2018-08-21 12:28:53 GMT
    Christopher Watts, 33, faces three first-degree murder charges, two counts of murdering a child under 12, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body. (Source: Weld County Sheriff/KMGH/CNN)Christopher Watts, 33, faces three first-degree murder charges, two counts of murdering a child under 12, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body. (Source: Weld County Sheriff/KMGH/CNN)

    The father of two told police in court papers released Monday that he killed his pregnant wife after witnessing her strangling one of the girls on a baby monitor.

    The father of two told police in court papers released Monday that he killed his pregnant wife after witnessing her strangling one of the girls on a baby monitor.

  • US deports former Nazi camp guard, 95, to Germany

    US deports former Nazi camp guard, 95, to Germany

    Tuesday, August 21 2018 4:18 AM EDT2018-08-21 08:18:16 GMT
    Tuesday, August 21 2018 8:29 AM EDT2018-08-21 12:29:28 GMT
    The deportation of the 95-year-old former concentration camp guard, Jakiw Palij, came 25 years after investigators first confronted him about his World War II past and he admitted lying to get into the U.S. (Source: Department of Justice)The deportation of the 95-year-old former concentration camp guard, Jakiw Palij, came 25 years after investigators first confronted him about his World War II past and he admitted lying to get into the U.S. (Source: Department of Justice)

    The White House says a 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard has been deported to Germany, 14 years after a judge ordered him deported.

    The White House says a 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard has been deported to Germany, 14 years after a judge ordered him deported.

  • Woman killed by alligator on Hilton Head Island

    Woman killed by alligator on Hilton Head Island

    Monday, August 20 2018 10:54 PM EDT2018-08-21 02:54:00 GMT

    A woman was attacked and killed by an alligator Monday morning in the Sea Pines area on Hilton Head Island.

    A woman was attacked and killed by an alligator Monday morning in the Sea Pines area on Hilton Head Island.

Powered by Frankly