Earlier today I wrote a post about nearly $100,000 in retention bonuses Governor Jack Dalrymple handed out to five staff members. Dalrymple’s defense of the bonuses holds that they were necessary to keep people in jobs that, given Dalrymple’s decision not to run for re-election, now have an expiration date.
But Democrats are making political hay over the bonuses. And they might be right to, if they just stuck to the size of the bonuses which are pretty disproportionate to other retention bonuses given to state employees. The problem is, they’re being very misleading.
Case in point, this quote posted to Twitter on the official North Dakota Democrat account which has Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider claiming the bonuses pulled money away from law enforcement officers:
— ND Dem-NPL (@nddemnpl) November 3, 2015
If this were true it would be bad, but it’s not true.
I spoke with Ken Purdy, executive director of North Dakota Human Resource Management Services, earlier today and he pointed out that these bonuses were paid out of the existing budgets of each state agency. “Agencies have to cover these within their salary line items,” Purdy told me. “There are no additional appropriations provided.”
Schneider, and Democrats generally, are trying to make it sound like this is new money being spent. Or that Dalrymple stole money earmarked for cops and gave it to his staff. But that’s not really true. This came out of governor’s office budget lawmakers approved for the 2013-2015 biennium.
A budget Schneider himself actually voted for, along with every other Democrat and Republican in the Senate chamber:
If Democrats want to argue that these bonuses were excessive, then fine. Let’s have that debate. But let’s not be misleading about where the money for the bonuses came from. The funds weren’t robbed from police officers or engineers or anyone else. They were funds appropriated specifically to the governor’s office, and the governor spent them as he saw fit on staff.