Dems question timing of Transportation Cabinet raises – Glasgow Daily Times


FRANKFORT — Some Democratic lawmakers are questioning the timing of Monday’s announcement of raises for some Transportation Cabinet workers only a week before an election which will determine majority control of the state House of Representatives.

Gov. Matt Bevin announced the raises, which average $3.20 an hour for some front-line workers in the cabinet.

But at a meeting Tuesday of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation, some Democrats asked State Highway Engineer Patty Dunaway why they weren’t alerted in advance, especially since the House had pushed the issue in the past.

Dunaway said the timing was tied simply to getting the pay increases approved by the Personnel Cabinet.

Later Bevin’s press secretary Amanda Stamper said the announcement was teased in advance on social media.

“We teased the announcement on Facebook and Twitter for anyone to see the day before,” Stamper said. “Instead of complaining about timing, they should congratulating these workers on these well-deserved raises they’ve been waiting on for 10 years.”

Rep. John Short, D-Mallie, recalled that the legislature passed language calling for a study of wages in the cabinet but Bevin vetoed some of it, primarily that which set a deadline of October for completing the study.

“Why is he now doing this right before the election?” Short asked Dunaway. “Yesterday some people running for the legislature knew about this and the office holders didn’t.”

Nearly all the lawmakers commended Dunaway and the cabinet for the increases, but Short wasn’t the only Democrat wondering about the timing.

After the meeting, Rep. Terry Mills, D-Lebanon, one of the sponsors of the resolution asking for the study of cabinet wages, told a reporter that he, too, wondered about the timing.

As he spoke, Sen. C.B. Embry, R-Morgantown, passed by and said: “The report was due in October and we got it. That’s all.”

But it’s not quite all.

Next week’s election will determine if Democrats maintain their majority in the House, the only obstacle remaining for Republican Bevin and the Republican Senate and their legislative agendas.

Mills, however, said he was happy for the transportation workers regardless of the timing of the announcement.

“This is a positive thing,” Mills said. “But the timing seems a little political.”

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.


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