Some of the proposals coming out of the Walker administration make one wonder if the administration is throwing stuff at the wall just to see if it will stick. That certainly seems to be the case with the 17% raise proposed for state troopers.
The proposed huge raise was shot down by the governor’s fellow Republicans in the Legislature almost as soon as it became public. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) was among those calling for a new round of negotiations with the troopers: “I just can’t support a raise that big,” Vos told reporters.
“I can’t imagine there’s a 17% or 18% contract that someone’s going to lay in front of me. That’s unreal in the world today,” said Senate President Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), co-chair with Vos of The Joint Committee on Employment Relations.
Even Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), who happens to be the son of Stephen Fitzgerald, who heads up the troopers, essentially said this contract was dead on arrival.
Did the good people in the administration fail to check with legislative leaders? What were they thinking? Yes, everyone understands that the troopers haven’t had a raise for a while, and everyone understands that the troopers have a tough job keeping the state’s highways safe. But none of that means the troopers deserve a raise of that size given the state’s significant budgetary issues.
Beyond that, the union is among the few public employee unions that have stood by Walker in his runs for office. In the public eye, that 17% hike could be seen as a reward for endorsing Walker, which only further tarnishes an increase of that size.
The Republican legislators are right: Renegotiate the contract. Some increase may be warranted; but not one this big.