Delaware Delaware Government General Assembly

In Which We Find Senator Lavelle Trolling Everyone About the Compensation Commission

The GA is getting ready to start up again, so we are being treated to various trial balloons and other selling of possible bills for the season.  Senator Greg Lavelle’s signature bill last year was to eliminate the State’s Compensation Commission, and it seems to be back this year.

This article oddly focuses on legislative pay, which I imagine is the frame Lavelle wants to have this conversation in.  But you should keep in mind that this Commission reviews the salaries of the Legislature, but also Administration Executive–level staff and senior Judiciary staff.  The focus on Legislative raises tells me that the only reason Lavelle wants this to go away is to have the issue of voting on pay raises to bludgeon Democrats with.  While he wonders why the results of a Compensation report would be rejected before it was completed, I doubt that anyone here will forget last year’s budget crisis.  No one got raises (that I know of) in a year where schools were cut by 35M.  Rejecting those raises was part and parcel of the austerity of the season.

The Compensation Commission produces good work — the report is data-rich and provides a good rationale for its recommendations.  Eliminating this Commission and its report means that we no longer have any real visibility into how senior salaries are crafted and why.  The GA always retains the power to say No to the findings and either not implement or revise the recommendations.

The fact that they retain the power to implement any raises is important — especially to the discussions over judicial pay.  Leo Strine has been pretty clear that he thinks that Delaware needs to be better focused on paying its judges better so that the Judiciary is a competitive choice for senior lawyers in the private sector.  Delaware’s marketing for itself includes its judiciary as one of its key selling points for companies doing business here.  Using the Commission report, the GA could address itself to this issue and still reject pay raises for itself.

I still think that any raises should be tied to State worker raises somehow.  I believe that any raises apply to all State workers, including senior staff.  The Compensation Commission addresses senior staff salaries largely as a personnel acquisition issue and raises recommended by them are on top of any others granted by the GA in the previous 4 years.  (Let me know if I am wrong on that.)

Mostly I am agnostic on senior staff pay raises, except to note that if *every* State employee got reasonable raises, this Compensation Commission would have less urgency.  I *do* think that there should be a good conversation about the compensation of the Judiciary.  If we don’t hesitate to throw money at beach replenishment, we should have a conversation about whether or not we are compensating judges to get the best of them.

And Greg Lavelle needs to find something to work on that matters.  We have school systems that have been shortchanged 35M this year.  How about fast-tracking Port of Wilmington II?  Time to stop trying to troll Democrats and get something real done, Senator Lavelle.

8 comments on “In Which We Find Senator Lavelle Trolling Everyone About the Compensation Commission

  1. And according to you on December 20th, 2017 “it is better to have a surplus of $118.8 million than a deficit of $386 million when writing a budget proposal.”

  2. Could it be this?: “Since the December DEFAC budget estimate is what Governor Carney will use in crafting his proposed budget that will be submitted to the General Assembly in January, this forecast gives him a little more breathing room, and indeed, it is better to have a surplus of $118.8 million than a deficit of $386 million when writing a budget proposal.

    Now, how to spend that money? The obvious answer is to reverse some of the painful cuts from last year. But in what I am sure will be a gubernatorial showdown in the future, Attorney General Matt Denn and State Treasurer Ken Simpler have other ideas.”

    https://bluedelaware.com/2017/12/20/the-budget-battle-in-the-new-year/

  3. Fast-track the port? No thanks. I’m fine with throwing away the money at the usual pace. And make no mistake, that proposal will do Delaware less good than creating a bonfire from the $500 million would.

    In several years of discussion about this, no evidence has ever been presented that an expanded port would bring in any greater volume of port business when measured against the expansion of other ports — backed by state government budgets that dwarf Delaware’s — along the river. There’s a reason for that — they’re selling a pig in a poke.

    • cassandram

      Kinder Morgan was willing to “lease” the current port at the expense of the current fruit business. Even though Kinder Morgan made noises about being ok with the fruit and veggie business, their break bulk model would have driven Dole, et al away. Still, you won’t be able to expand until there are facilities to work with. And the current ILA crew is a real asset. Port of Wilmington is never going to be the Port of Baltimore or Philly, but can certainly carve out more business and build on the really good businesses they have. The Port currently has multiple proposals for Edgemoor as it is.

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