After almost five years of the Jindal administration I shouldn’t be shocked, but this last round of pay raises for the governor’s elite staff members just leaves me shocked — and outraged.
The state is cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in health-care services and turning out our neediest and sickest to find vital — even life-saving — services on their own. In the midst of this crisis, I read recently that Gov. Bobby Jindal has seen fit to hand out massive raises to some staff members, two of them closely connected to his closest friend, Timmy Teepell.
Teepell’s brother, Taylor Teepell, gets a new job and a $40,000 raise to $130,000. Teepell’s brother-in-law, Matt Parker, gets a $25,000 raise to $120,000. Anthony Ramirez will see his salary leap from $44,000 to $70,000. Their job titles and their qualifications don’t matter in this discussion. The governor thinks they are doing good jobs and I’m fine with that.
I do question the size of the raises. After all, we’re in a time of austerity where every branch of state government is expected to “do more with less.”
Rank-and-file state workers have not seen a raise in five years. The struggling families and sick people are just flat out of luck — expected to do without.
The median household income in Louisiana is a little less than $42,000. That means Taylor Teepell’s raise gives him enough new income to support almost an entire family. These raises are just the latest in a stream of excessive salaries in the Jindal administration.
The Department of Education is spending $12,000 a month on a Florida public-relations expert. BESE is hiring its own six-figure consultant. In addition to that, Gov. Jindal hired his old friend, Tim Barfield, at $250,000 to run the Department of Revenue and is paying him twice the pay of his predecessor — who was a woman.
If our chief commander is asking us to do more with less, then I believe he needs to lead by example.
Certainly, we should try to pay people what they are worth, but when we are bleeding and we are trying to stop the bleeding, you don’t add to the wound by pouring salt in it.
Our state agencies are cutting essential services for our working families and our chief commander is handing out lavish salaries and raises. So much for leading by example.
This simply outrages me. How about you?
state representative, District 29