Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Seriously, he didn't know the salary?

Colorado's newly elected Secretary of State Scott Gessler plans to not moonlight for now in his job to serve the people, who elected him.  It makes sense.

He applied for the job, right? Yes, from all news reports the Republican ran for office and unseated a Democrat to take the state's post to oversee elections.

So, why was he making news about it in January? It wasn't about his initial efforts to do his new job. No, he was making news because he wasn't happy with his paycheck of $68,500 a year. He wanted to make more money for his family, so he wanted to continue work at his old law firm, which specializes in election issues.

Insert a Homer Simpson, "Doh?!" or another cartoon character's favorite Say what?! expression of disbelief.

I get that Gessler wanted to make more money. Sure, a lot of people are taking on second jobs in this economy. But, didn't he know how much the state position paid when he registered to get his name on the ballot?

I'm new to Colorado, but I think that information is public. Just like any new employee, he should have asked about his paycheck, benefits, etc. before he sought out (ran a statewide campaign to get elected) and accepted the job.

Gessler sought an opinion from the Attorney General on the issue, but decided on Feb. 1 to drop the issue. People had wanted Gessler to disclose the clients he worked for in his second job. He realized that wasn't a good idea. According to reports, he may seek other work. The glitch with this first moonlighting job was the focus of the law firm, which does business with his state elected office.

It will be interesting to see how this all works out for Gessler and other Colorado state officials. Some statewide officials do work second jobs to supplement their income. And, looking at the salaries of some state offices, they do seem a bit low. Compare Gessler's salary with Colorado Springs' new strong mayor. The new mayor will make $96,000 to oversee a city of 400,000. From everything I can find, the current mayor makes around $6,000 for a part-time job that is most likely full time.

I agree that Colorado salaries for a state office seem low. I've seen city manager's in small, rural towns make more than $100,000. But, the size of the paycheck isn't really the point in Gessler's story. He should have fully considered his salary when he sought a statewide office.

I mean really, did he not know?

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