Over at Capital Ideas with John Micek there is an interesting story about Representative Eachus hiring more attorneys.
New House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, D-Luzerne, was swept into office late last year vowing to clean up the reputation of a caucus battered by scandal and to act as an aggressive steward of the public purse.
“In the end, we have to match our work to the policies that people are struggling with,” the Hazleton lawmaker told The Morning Call earlier this year. “People are losing their jobs … and we must forge policies that matter to real people.”
But in the last month, Eachus has made at least two high-priced hires — taking on a new chief-of-staff and a caucus counsel at salaries larger than those paid to their predecessors, according to data provided by his office.
Both are key positions within Eachus’ office, as is the new press secretary the northeastern Democrat announced Monday.
But at least one other legislative caucus in Harrisburg, the Senate Republicans, has pursued a policy of not paying new employees more than the people they succeed.
In February, Eachus announced that he’d hired Harrisburg lobbyist, and onetime Democratic employee, Laura Kuller as his new chief-of-staff.
Kuller will earn $161,000, or nearly $24,000 more than the salary paid in the last legislative session to Sandra F. Williams, who served as chief to then Majority Leader Bill DeWeese, D-Greene. (By me Ms. Williams is still on Mr. DeWesse's staff at the same rate of pay)
Eachus’ new counsel, former Rendell administration senior lawyer Nora Winkelman, is being paid $149,900, or $16,781 more than the $133,119 salary paid to DeWeese's top lawyer William Martin Sloane last year.
The Post-Gazette goes on to talk about some more hires not in the first article.
Another newcomer to Mr. Eachus' office is Director of Legislation Richard Speese, whose salary is $105,014, up from the $87,411 he received as compensation last year as executive director of the House Insurance Committee.
Another of those parts is Zane Phoenix, a former senior policy analyst to moved into the newly created position of personnel director for the majority leader's office. The change moved him from a job that provided $97,179 in compensation last year to one that pays $128,518 a year.
The opening line in that article says it all. The state House's new Democratic leaders say they are serious about reducing staffing costs, but so far, Majority Leader Todd Eachus isn't setting much of an example.
For a full listing of House employee salaries click here.