Posts Tagged ‘General Assembly’

No pay cuts?

June 21, 2009

I am frustrated with Delaware state employees – and reluctant General Assembly members’ inability to pass state pay cuts at 2.5 percent. As I’ve written before, 34 states have introduced or passed state employee pay cuts. In Hawaii, about 15,000 employees had to accept a 16 percent pay cut and Delaware is looking at 2.5 percent. Would Delaware employees rather have layoffs?

House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, said if the pay cuts are not approved, it will result in layoffs for 500 workers. Perhaps that’s the way to go? It’s a heck of a lot easier to anger 500 people rather than 32,000. As House members seek re-election, pay cuts become a central platform – and potential barrier to re-election. Schwartzkopf also pointedout that House members are elected every two years and are less insulated than Senate members, who serve four-year terms, where one-third of Senate members face re-election

In the private sector, pay cuts have been issued, along with layoffs. At the Cape Gazette, employees have not seen pay raises in two years. The paper also laid off six employees last December. Clearly, the news business is facing its own battle with survival. But, I think pay cuts and layoffs are common at other private ventures.

I think state workers need to buck up to the plate.

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Is the Legislature already gambling with open meetings?

April 16, 2009

IN MARCH, the House passed a bill that allows the public to access General Assembly meetings – except for those held in caucus. While the measure sits in a Senate committee, House lawmakers already met behind closed doors on April 7 for a House Gaming and Parimutuels Committee meeting, led by Chairman John Viola, D-Newark. House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, attended this meeting but later said he should’ve used better judgment. He said he thought the meeting was just Dems only.

He said only after he entered the closed-door session did he realize the meeting consisted of Republicans and Democrats – clearly not just one caucus.

He also said he if he hadn’t met with members of the gaming committee, they would have tabled voting on releasing a substitute gaming measure.

“When Viola called for a 5-minute recess I didn’t know what he was doing. It probably shouldn’t have been done. Nobody knew what Viola was doing. If I would not have agreed to meet them, they probably would’ve tabled the committee,” said Schwartzkopf. Instead, the gaming committee released the substitute measure on a 5-4 vote.

Speaker of the House Bob Gilligan, D-Wilmington, said he wouldn’t suspend Viola for not abiding by House rules. Said Schwartzkopf, “Lesson learned. It looked bad. I wouldn’t do it again.”