The arrogance of Democrats in the General Assembly: your money is their property (or) they are incapable of completing a simple form

Following up on Erick’s post yesterday concerning Democrat legislators refusing to participate in a voluntary furlough program, it was amusing to read some of the comments related to same and the statement that this was just an exercise in symbolism.

While I agree there can be no doubt symbolism is indeed a minor component of the voluntary furlough program, the fact remains these are tax dollars given to legislators from actual living, breathing taxpayers. Citizens. The real “boss” in Georgia.

And these are difficult financial times and everyone must tighten their belt…even spoiled legislators. The total savings with these furlough days equals $170,000. Is that, I ask, not worth this exercise in fiscal responsibility?

So before you cry for the seven Democrats in the General Assembly (allegedly champions of “the little guy”) who have not completed their furlough paperwork, or who refused to opt-in with the program because they believe they need the $17,342 in annual salary because they work hard for four months, consider this:

– A new Trooper in the Georgia State Patrol only makes $35,741 for working not just a few months, but a whole year.

– The base salary for an Assistant District Attorney administrative assistant in the Hall County District Attorney’s Office is $28,535. Again, for a whole year.

– A new Special Agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, for a whole year of work, earns only $35,569.36.

And, of course, all of these “little people” are being forced to work for free on furlough days.

When you add in per diems and “special treats” from lobbyists, Georgia’s legislators have a pretty sweet gig. But the arrogance of these Democrats cannot be assuaged. In their minds, they deserve every penny and by God, they are going to keep it. Because it’s all about the children the elderly the poor themselves.

Some of these “statesmen” now say that they were just “confused” about the paperwork to take the furlough. A load of toro feces, that is.

Four of the senators — Valencia Seay of Riverdale, Minority Leader Robert Brown of Macon, Lester Jackson of Savannah and Gloria Butler of Stone Mountain —said they intended to take the furlough days.

They said that in an “oversight” they had not filed the proper paperwork to have the money deducted from their checks.

Strange that this “oversight” only appears to affect Democrats. Or, perhaps, they thought they could pull a fast one and through omission keep their full salary.

And, don’t forget that as of today, Democrat State Senators Valencia Seay (D-Riverdale) and Steve Thompson (D-Marietta) as well as Democrat State Representatives Bob Bryant (D-Garden City), Ron Dodson (D-Lake City), David Lucas (D-Macon), Quincy Murphy (D-Augusta), Jay Shaw (D-Lakeland) and Al Williams (D-Midway) have yet to file their personal financial disclosures for 2008 with the State Ethics Commission. Why? What is the conceivable delay in completing a simple, three page document and filing it with the Commission?

If these legislators can’t even accomplish such a simple task as filing a disclosure document or a furlough approval, how can they handle the complex legislation that crosses their desk daily for their review and approval?

36 comments

  1. rugby says:

    And I realized something the other day.

    Pete is like the USA Today. Lots of pretty graphics, some interesting numbers, but on the whole, not a lot of substance to the stories, very little worth reading, and like the free paper you get at second rate hotels, you don’t really want it, but because it is there and free you still end up reading it and wonder why you did when you are all done.

  2. The base salary for an Assistant District Attorney in Hall County is $28,535. Again, for a whole year.

    Twenty paragraphs about how people who can’t track the little details shouldn’t be trusted… and you overlooked that this job listed you linked to was for a LEGAL SECRETARY, not an Assist. Dist. Attorney. This “detail tracking” error is doubly amusing to me, as Pete has said before that he was once a prosecutor… and should be well aware that they start fresh out of law school making over twice a state legislator’s pay.

    Guess we can’t trust you either?

    • Pete Randall says:

      I’m not an elected representative, dude (grin). But good catch and I’ve made the change.

      Evidently the underlying point doesn’t matter to you. You realize that secretaries do important work, as well, right? Or are they beneath you and your impressive body of legal work? (And before you get your panties in a twist, I’m not serious with that question.)

      • Yeah, my elitism knows no bounds!

        Granted, whether it’s being too disorganized to handle their paperwork, or being too stupid to give up a few hundred bucks to avoid the political vulnerability, this was a pretty poor move. I don’t condone it… but I just don’t care all that much.

        There are a couple of business owners on this thread talking about personally taking cuts large enough to avoid laying an employee off, and I salute them. But comparing that to a couple of furlough days on a $17K salary, even when you combine all 7 guys together, is a stretch to put it mildly. This is purely an emotional play and weak populist attack (THAT ONE’S FOR YOU, PYE!).

        It just seems like with the wild recent events, and the looming general election, it’s time for the Peach Pundit front page to turn its guns back on the Dems rather than their own. However, the problem with being in complete charge for a decade is that your opponents haven’t been able to do much, so you have to throw some pretty weak stuff at the wall and hope something sticks. You guys need a ballot amendment around some social wedge issue, stat.

        • Pete Randall says:

          Steve, you really are reading too much into motivations. We do not decide to focus on Dems because we’ve focused on Repubs. We focus on everyone.

          There are a few things I’m working on now about BOTH parties, for example.

          You can’t look at furloughs throught he prism of just having seven people participate. If everyone participates, it’s more than $150K. That’s serious money where I come from and, I suspect, down in Americus where you’ve spent some time, I believe.

          Okay, I’m pretty much done with comments on this one. Peace out.

  3. John Konop says:

    This issue is very troublesome to me. I have run businesses during some very tough times ie post 9/11 and now. And both times I required my executive staff as well as myself to take a 20% pay cut instead of laying off workers. Knock on wood I have been able to stir the ship in tough waters.

    Leadership in tough times comes from the tone set at the top. If the leadership will not sacrifice first than you will see dysfunctional behavior in your company and or organization that will affect a positive cohesive work environment.

    I think we could solve many problems with the budget if we asked the leadership to first sacrifice at the DOE, Education……

    One example the DOE spends around 300k in overhead to spend about 50k a year after servicing debt.

    In the tough times we must be realistic how and when we spend money. And I would hope executives in government making over 6 figures would take a 20% hit on pay before asking others to take a pay cut.

    • polisavvy says:

      Amen! My husband owns a small construction/remodeling business. He did the same as you. In order to keep two employees still employed, he cut his own pay by $500.00 per week. It was a sacrifice and an adjustment to us; but, at some point, you do what you need to do. If it hits you in the pocketbook, then you do it. All the whining, complaining, and excuse making does not bode well for the “oversights” that these legislatures now claim. As far as still not filing their 2008 disclosures, there is absolutely no excuse and no reason should be accepted. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, if the only penalty for failing to file a disclosure is as pathetically small as it is, people will continue to defy or disregard the rule. At some point, the Ethics Commission should be allowed to do more than just give these folk a slap on the wrist. There should be consequences for their actions (or lack thereof) other than a meager fine.

  4. GOPGeorgia says:

    I think legislators are probably paid too little. Just because they are in session for 40 days doesn’t mean that they are not handling constituent complaints or preparing for the session.

    I’d like to see full disclosure on all campaign contributions and lobbyist gifts within one week of acceptance and the same with expenditures. Technology has changed, so let’s update our campaign disclosure laws to match them.

    However these eight legislators can’t get it right under the current system, so what was I thinking? As opposed to attacking how partisan this thread is, how about explaining these legislators lack of action?

    • polisavvy says:

      Good point, GOPGeorgia. I love how whenever anyone mentions anything negative about any Democrat, that their “friends” come out of the woodwork and attacking those who feel their shortcomings are a valid matter to discuss. I would feel the same if we were discussing Republicans. My feeling is that if you aren’t going to play by the rules (i.e., file disclosures, etc), then take your ball and go home (regardless of party affiliation).

  5. Bucky Plyler says:

    I like Petie’s posts..it doesn’t make any difference to me whether the Senators are D’s or R’s. It is interesting that they are ALL
    D’s. It would also be interesting to me if they were all R’s.

    They have ALL demonstrated a disdain for disclosure as well as the pay cut.

    • polisavvy says:

      I totally agree with you. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong (regardless of party affiliation). I believe you don’t see any Republicans named because they were all warned last year that they had best file whatever needed to be filed when it needed to be filed. Apparently, no one in the Democratic lead suggested the same thing.

        • polisavvy says:

          So, why do you think the Democratic lead did not suggest the same as the Republican lead? They keep saying the republicans (everwhere) are the party of “no;” they [the Democrats] appear to be the party of woe (problems, problems everywhere)(on the state and federal level).

          • Bucky Plyler says:

            It’s the old attitude..”let’s stick it to the man!”.

            Also, they probably think the budget woes could have been managed differently & perhaps they wanted a tax increase as well.

            However, certainly nobody in their leadership could-would make them do it!

          • Dave Bearse says:

            “So, why do you think the Democratic lead did not suggest the same as the Republican lead? ”

            So what’s the Democratic leadership going to do, deny someone that doesn’t comply a committee Chairmanship? Or how about the leadership not appoint someone favored by a non-files to some Commision or another?

          • polisavvy says:

            You have to start somewhere and do something. Whatever was said by the Republican leadership seemed to work. There are no Republicans listed.

  6. Rick Day says:

    So according to Pete, the OBVIOUS solution is to get rid of every Democrat on the planet, and replace them with Republicans. Only then will EVERYTHING magically fix itself.

    Pete, have you tired the miracle of medical marijuana yet?

    Apparently so… and apparently you are out of said medicine.

    • Ken in Eastman says:

      Uhh, Dude, that’s not what he said. I think you’ve upped your medical marijuana dosage to the modern version of Colombian Sensemilla.

      But props for being able to blog under the circumstances.

  7. Rick Day says:

    PS: you are leaving out a whole lot of data there on the ‘cost’ of each of those jobs, including the cost to advertise, recruit, fill, train and provide benefits to each of those positions.

    Once you factor those very real costs in, you don’t have much more than a straw man making your points for you.

    But I do admire your consistency of selectively choosing your smear facts!

    • BuckheadConservative says:

      I think the pertinent fact here is this: A handful of Democrat lawmakers did not take their voluntary furlough days.

      On a somewhat related note, another (larger) handful of lawmakers have (to this point) refused to file their personal financial disclosure.

      You can argue Pete’s bias, or his salary estimates, but those facts above don’t change. Use the space below to make excuses for the legislators mentioned if you’d like.

      • ByteMe says:

        I think the bottom line is that with a better blogger, we’d be discussing the lawmakers and their actions instead of the blogger. That his posts become mostly about him just means he’s an unwanted distraction.

      • Ken in Eastman says:

        I wonder if Pete posted stories under another name (perhaps Chris would lend his for a few days), would they get the same response. I think there is a tendency to judge Pete more harshly than others.

          • John Konop says:

            I think Ken is right! Pete has made some over the top postings which has earned him his reputation. But the way I take Pete is I think part of it is his way and or sense of humor, of making a point. But at the end of the day Pete has brought up many thought provoking topics. Finally, even though I disagreed with Pete on some topics like the Wilson case, he engaged (while wrong) in a very intelligent debate about the topic.

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