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SENATE TO TRY AGAIN FOR DETAILS ON RAISES

Nov. 14, 2001 – Same day, same time, same place, next week, the 24th Legislature decided after quizzing top administration officials on Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's impending raises for more than eight hours Tuesday and coming up empty-handed as far as specifics.
Expressing most senators' frustration, Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd said Tuesday night, "We have spent a whole lot of time on this issue. We now understand what we have to do. We will have to issue another subpoena for these officials to produce the documents we need."
The full body had spent the day hearing testimony from top administration fiscal officers, including Ira Mills, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Karen
Andrews, the government's chief labor negotiator.
Neither Mills nor Andrews would supply specific raises for specific employees. The governor issued an executive order on Nov. 5 raising the ceiling on salaries to $97,000 for commissioners and other top administrators, $92,00 for assistant commissioners, $87,000 for deputy commissioners and $70,000 for division directors.
Until the governor announces specific recommendations, Mills said, it would be "inappropriate" for him to release information.
In response, Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole made the motion to subpoena the administration officials to return in a week. It passed 9-6 along majority/ minority lines, with unaligned Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg voting with the minority.
Sen. Vargrave Richards questioned Andrews at length about the salaries of some unionized employees and police officers who are making more than $65.000. Andrews said the police have 18 employees making more than $65,000, and the Department of Justice has 30 employees at that level.
"The public needs to be clear," Richards said, that "there are many government workers who are making above the $65,000 level and are being supervised by persons making $65,000. I need this information to go on record so the public can be knowledgeable about what is going on."
Majority leader Sen. Celestino A. White Sr. made a motion to table until next Tuesday's session a bill to change the current line-item budgets for government agencies and departments to lump-sum budgets so each entity could manage its own funds. This motion also passed, 9-6, on majority/minority lines.
Senate Finance Committee chair Alicia "Chucky" Hansen has been adamant about keeping the line-item budgets, which her committee spent endless hours creating earlier this year. She has emphasized on several occasions that the Legislature should control the purse strings.
The governor and Mills disagree. "I have urged the Finance Committee for the past three fiscal years to change to a lump-sum budget," Mills said. "It is the most efficient and effective method to allow departments and agency heads to manage their allotted resources."
He added, "It is absolutely imperative that they … be afforded maximum flexibility to manage their resources." And, he said, a lump-sum appropriation "shifts the focus of legislative oversight to programs and away from line items of expenditure." He said it is a current trend nationally — that "almost 90 percent of state governments use lump-sum budgeting, according to the Public Administration Review."
The session adjourned at 8 p.m. All senators were present.

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Nov. 14, 2001 - Same day, same time, same place, next week, the 24th Legislature decided after quizzing top administration officials on Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's impending raises for more than eight hours Tuesday and coming up empty-handed as far as specifics.
Expressing most senators' frustration, Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd said Tuesday night, "We have spent a whole lot of time on this issue. We now understand what we have to do. We will have to issue another subpoena for these officials to produce the documents we need."
The full body had spent the day hearing testimony from top administration fiscal officers, including Ira Mills, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Karen
Andrews, the government's chief labor negotiator.
Neither Mills nor Andrews would supply specific raises for specific employees. The governor issued an executive order on Nov. 5 raising the ceiling on salaries to $97,000 for commissioners and other top administrators, $92,00 for assistant commissioners, $87,000 for deputy commissioners and $70,000 for division directors.
Until the governor announces specific recommendations, Mills said, it would be "inappropriate" for him to release information.
In response, Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole made the motion to subpoena the administration officials to return in a week. It passed 9-6 along majority/ minority lines, with unaligned Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg voting with the minority.
Sen. Vargrave Richards questioned Andrews at length about the salaries of some unionized employees and police officers who are making more than $65.000. Andrews said the police have 18 employees making more than $65,000, and the Department of Justice has 30 employees at that level.
"The public needs to be clear," Richards said, that "there are many government workers who are making above the $65,000 level and are being supervised by persons making $65,000. I need this information to go on record so the public can be knowledgeable about what is going on."
Majority leader Sen. Celestino A. White Sr. made a motion to table until next Tuesday's session a bill to change the current line-item budgets for government agencies and departments to lump-sum budgets so each entity could manage its own funds. This motion also passed, 9-6, on majority/minority lines.
Senate Finance Committee chair Alicia "Chucky" Hansen has been adamant about keeping the line-item budgets, which her committee spent endless hours creating earlier this year. She has emphasized on several occasions that the Legislature should control the purse strings.
The governor and Mills disagree. "I have urged the Finance Committee for the past three fiscal years to change to a lump-sum budget," Mills said. "It is the most efficient and effective method to allow departments and agency heads to manage their allotted resources."
He added, "It is absolutely imperative that they ... be afforded maximum flexibility to manage their resources." And, he said, a lump-sum appropriation "shifts the focus of legislative oversight to programs and away from line items of expenditure." He said it is a current trend nationally -- that "almost 90 percent of state governments use lump-sum budgeting, according to the Public Administration Review."
The session adjourned at 8 p.m. All senators were present.