Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: The cost of the Governor’s salary

Dear Editor,

Governor Paul LePage has proposed more than doubling the governor’s salary(LD 1878). The governor currently receives a salary of $70,000. In addition, housing, food, vehicle and personal driver, health care, and all travel expenses are payed for by the Maine taxpayer. When Governor LePage retires, after only eight years of service, he will receive 37.5% of the sitting governor’s salary. Since the retirement salary is tied to the sitting governor’s salary, his retirement pay will more than double as well.

But the cost does not end there. We will have 5 retired governor’s receiving the same increase. The cost to taxpayers? With an increase in meal and housing allowances to $50 and $75 per day also requested by the governor, increased costs to tax payers will be $597,513 in the first year and $670,000 annually by the year 2021.

You can do the math yourself or read the Preliminary Fiscal Impact estimates available from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes http://legislature.maine.gov/legis/bills/bills_128th/fiscalpdfs/FN187801.pdf

I agree that there should be an increase in the governor’s pay, but let’s make it fair for all and tie increases in the governor’s salary to the same increases bargained for public employees. The governor appeared very proud of himself when slashing the retirement pensions of public school teachers and government employees. It appears the height of hypocrisy to now decide that he should feather his retirement nest with exorbitant payouts.

Sincerely,
Jan M. Collins
Wilton

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24 Responses »

  1. We saw a recent debate among Democrats yearning to be governor. The pivotal question question: who hates Paul LePage the most? Competition was intense. Here's a woman campaigning on a I HATE LEPAGE platform to get a seat in the legislature.

    If her concern was sincere she would demand that the Democratic aspirants renounce this exorbitant pay raise.

    She isn't. She won't.

    They wouldn't renounce if she demanded.

    BULLETIN: Paul LePage isn't running for governor in 2018.

  2. I agree except I think the pay is fine as is. They are public servants. We need to push for legislation to end all benefits once they are out of office. Once we do that I could consider increasing the salary while in office. No one I know wants this and I bet a majority of the people of this state do not. I also bet that it will pass. Maybe not while LePage is in office but soon. Its all about self preservation for them.

    Abolish the 2 Parties!

  3. Yeah, and if LePage were not going to be one of our past governors, she never would have written the op-ed, and agreeing with every increase.

  4. Our society today is divided, and that division creates blindness.

    Regardless of the " side" one sees themselves on, they ignore basic facts, as doing so makes it easier to NOT engage in any kind of useful dialog with the "other".

    Lepage has done some things I like..and some things I did not. Just like every other governor we have ever had.

    What I find interesting is that people are complaining about the governor pulling down $70K, when he is the leader of the entire STATE..when we have school officials with far less responsibility with salaries nearly double that. And those same critics have NOTHING to say about it.

    I do not begrudge anyone that is willing to take the mantle of leadership a decent salary, because the unseen, day to day responsibilities assure that they EARN it.

    The salary in question should be commensurate with the level of expected responsibility and accountability. We have elected officials, alleged public servants that are the FIRST to get in front of a camera and talk about the latest hot button issue...yet occupy the SAME position, often for DECADES, and offer NO solution to said problems. The problem is only in their minds while it is in the publics three day attention span, and then its forgotten.

    If we are going to talk about people that are working hard, leading well, thinking ahead, and have earned far more that they are paid..then we HAVE to talk about the County Sheriff.

    He.or she.. is directly responsible for the physical safety and security of everyone in said county, wakes up daily and straps on a weapon and armor, and is often in the direct line of fire...not of criticisms of keyboard commandoes and politically biased journalists ( though they deal with that as well) but actual PROJECTILES.
    They provide leadership and an example for all citizens to follow, as well as the officers in their employ, yet get VERY little credit for what they do.
    But, if one in their charge steps out of line, and makes an error, the world falls on their heads.

    Is it time to give the governor of Maine a raise? Yes, it probably IS..seeing how those in Washington vote themselves raises and benefit increases regular, hoping we do not notice.

    But while you are getting your knickers in a twist about the Governor, consider the Senators that have sat on their butts and become MILLIONAIRES as public servants, while having their security provided for them, paid for by YOU, whom they esteem so little that many do not think you worthy of owning proper firearms, much less being able to carry them to -GASP- the States capital, where they might have to mix with your shabby, unwashed person.

    Consider your Sheriff, who is the type of man who would NEVER ask for a pay increase, as his job is his calling. It would be far beneath him to use his position for personal gain.

    Contrast that with our Senatorial cadre, our alleged leaders, who are excoriated if they take a dollar from the NRA, but when purchased outright by wind companies...well, cue the crickets.

  5. How about this?---reduce the RSU9 Superintendant's salary to the governor's level.

    Or this---raise the govrnor's salary to the level of the UMF president's.

  6. Mr Frary is trotting out his usual trash talk: Ms Collins was making a point about all governors, past, present and future and not specifically about Gov LePage.

    Mr Donald Junior: which of our senators has become a millionaire as a result of becoming a senator? Details please.

  7. How did this editorial become cheerleading for the sheriff?

  8. Norm... a couple of our senators have become millionaires, in recent years, as a result of their political lives. Some before and some after getting into office..... Do a bit of research...

  9. You make this long editorial. How about answering the question you were asked when you announced you running for the house?

  10. keep it to what it is, if they can't live on that salary, then don't run for that office.

  11. Also left out of the Governor's pay is a personal expense account of 35k dollars that is not overseen by the legislature nor is it taxable. So that is free money for him to tap into. This is money that is available to every governor here in Maine. So that should be added to the 70k figure .. Yes, our governor for IRS purposes receives a paltry 70k per year, making him or her the lowest paid governor of all the 50 states..however.. add in the nontaxable benefits package that we supply our governors with.. it really does add up and push them up higher in the list. If you double the rate of pay, then I move to take that 35k personal expense acct away.. otherwise, they then become on par with more wealthy states like PA..who has the highest paid governor at 180k.

    Now I watched the day he presented this rate of pay increase.. he said "I want to attract qualified people to run for the office" He sounded so altruistic.. He claimed, "I won't be in office when this raise would go into effect." Leading folks to understand that he truly wanted a new governor to get paid better. The fact that he will benefit from the raise in what he gets in retirement, along with the rest of the former governors, is just coming to light. Self Serving, taking care of business... yup...

  12. Not a LePage fan whatsoever but even a broken clock is right twice a day. In this instance he's right about raising the pay for our state's highest elected official. Enticing people who wouldn't have to take a huge pay cut to run. It could result in a higher caliber of candidate. Better quality people, better quality governor.

  13. Thanks Sammy I was wondering if we might get those at some point 👌🏻

  14. Anyone checked into salaries and benefits of people running and teaching at UMF... Lots of public employees there... I see none of em weighing in with their thoughts and opinions.... I guess they all busy and didn't read the the letter yet..

  15. Why is it always about the money?? All the politicians get their pensions and health benefits for life and WE pay for it.. Talk about a FREE ride. Limit terms and be like the rest of the American citizens and pay YOUR way, get a JOB and work for a living! What makes ALL of you so mighty and great? Just take a look at where the country is going right now, you can't work in the White House with out retaining a attorney that will cost you more than your salary and then have to pay for that legal fee out of your pocket... That's why no one wants to work there. Every one is suing ever body else in Washington. Good Grief Charlie Brown !!! Go Fish.

  16. Dear Readers: What is the total compensation package for Governor? pay? Expense account? current and future health care?

    What is Maine's population and budget compared to Pennsylvania? How about we increase the position pay by 2% per year for a few years, then go on inflation as tagged by Social Security? Seems like a straight forward topic.

    This editorial is focused on one, tangible issue...can it be discussed, and have facts added, or as some contributors insist on doing, just throw in noise? How about those Yankees then?

  17. Jan M. Collins

    "I agree that there should be an increase in the governor’s pay, but let’s make it fair for all and tie increases in the governor’s salary to the same increases bargained for public employees."

    To put this all in perspective, The first 3/4 of your "letter" is all about Paul Lepage and detail the costs to taxpayers if this increase were granted and then you come full circle to say you not only support the increase but want more increases? Yet you give no statistics or math on what that will cost the taxpayers your so concerned about? Typical aspiring politician...

    Norm Penn
    April 13, 2018 • 7:40 pm

    Mr Frary is trotting out his usual trash talk: Ms Collins was making a point about all governors, past, present and future and not specifically about Gov LePage.

    Mr. Frary very well summed up what you seem to have trouble seeing. Do you not notice that she supports the increase and actually wants larger increases across the board ? She just does not like who proposed it...

  18. The same folks on the Left who think the gov's salary is outrageous think a school superintendent in rural Maine should receive twice that...

  19. This Letter To The Editor smells of the "BUT HILLARY WAS SUPPOSED TO WIN" syndrome........Sour Grapes!!! Bet she drives a Subaru with one of those 60% stickers on the back......

  20. Stan:

    As evidenced on the federal level, perhaps keeping people who need to make large amounts of money out of public office is a good idea. It may be idealistic, but public service entails foregoing a few years of huge pay.

  21. Dear readers: Shall we pay our Governor proportionately for the size of our state's population, compared to other states? If we choose Pennsylvania, we would have to adjust his pay. Pennsylvania's population is about nine times the population of Maine.

    If we were to pay 1/9th the salary of the Pennsylvania governor, we would reduce the position of Governor salary in Maine by $50,000 or so....hmmm. That kind of a reduction does not seem right.

    How about a dollar an hour increase, like our commissioners authorized for our deputies? This increase seems fairer than cutting the pay.... One dollar an hour for each hour on the clock. Lets see, the Governor is likely on the clock 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year, so that increase would be about $8000 or so a year, for a bit over 12 %.

    Hmmmm...

  22. Vermont pays its governor around $150,000; New Hampshire $125,000.

    PURE: Ms Collins is running as a Democrat. It follows she feels a kindly urge to take money from some people and give it to others. Her apparent attack on LePage wasn't personal, it was just business. You have probably already noticed that all the Democratic gubernatorial aspirants are running against LePage even though he isn't running himself.

  23. Ah, but John - the Democrats are vying to win the nomination, meaning they have to first get the support of the activists who dominate that process. The activists hate Le Page, so attacking him is a way to get on their good side. Once they settle on a candidate expect the nominee to tack to the center and focus on their opponent. It's still early in the game. I mean, I still hear Republicans attacking Hillary and she's irrelevant to the Democratic party by this point. They're playing to their own bases at this point.

  24. Good point John..I guess the next Governor should move to Vrmont then, for better pay!

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