Monday, June 21, 2010

MN-02 : Kline Puts Out Help Wanted Sign

Don’t want to wait for the full effects of the healthcare reform and get a job in an industry that’s growing ...

In fact, remember when Senator Chuck Grassley was asked by a constituent how he can get the same kind of health care options members of Congress have, Mr. Grassley said “You can. Just go work for the federal government.

Good News ! John Kline’s hiring !

Scheduler/Executive Assistant - The office of Rep. John Kline (R-MN) is seeking a D.C. Scheduler/Executive Assistant. This position is responsible for managing the Member’s DC schedule, making travel arrangements, coordinating the DC intern program, and supervising front office operations and staff. Candidates must possess meticulous attention to detail; excellent communications skills; and the ability to multitask, organize, and balance competing priorities in a fast-paced environment. Candidates must have Hill experience. Minnesota ties preferred. Salary commensurate with experience. Please send resume, and cover letter to:

Ah, how interesting that we keep hearing that if only government would run like a profit-making business. In today’s economy, most companies are taking every opportunity to reduce staff … attrition means reduction in staff … re-assignment of duties … carry a little extra load.

In essence, the message is : “The American people are tightening their belts and making tough decisions, and they expect the same of their elected leaders. It is time for Washington to get its priorities straight, put our fiscal house in order, and give job creators the freedom they need to put Americans back to work.” … or so said John Kline (R-MN-02) on June 4, 2010.

This really brings us to a discussion of how the Congressional staff is funded.
Of course, the answer is : You and me, the taxpayer.
But who decides how those funds are spent : The Representative.

Each member of the House of Representatives has a Member’s Reimbursement Allowance … which is basically the same amount for everyone with those with Committee leadership given additional monies. The first thing to remember is that the MRA does not have to be spent in total … in fact, Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN-01) has routinely returned monies every year … and Congressman Walz has never accepted a pay increase.
The member can essentially allocate their MRA however they want with some maximum headcount considerations.
In essence, if the Congressman wants to give out year end bonuses … that’s fine
… if the Congressman wants to pay an “executive assistant” more than his Chief of Staff … that’s fine
… if the Congressman wants to spend it on furniture or salary, it doesn’t matter as long as it doesn’t exceed the MRA maximum.
(Oh, and don’t forget the Franked Mail privilege that members of Congress have.)

So, let’s look at Mr. Kline’s staff.
For perspective, in 2007, his total staff salary was $ 813,195; in 2008, it was $880,628; and in 2009 it was $ 943,552.
What was that about “It is time for Washington to get its priorities straight, put our fiscal house in order … ” ?

The guy you want to be is Paul Teller … who Mr. Kline paid $10,000 to be his Executive Director for one month in April of 2009. Mr. Teller was previously employed by Mr. Kline in August 2008 for $8,000 … WOW … that’s fiscal management !

The most high profile position that many Minnesotans may actually deal with is Mr. Kline’s District Director. In 2007, he was paid $105,575.04. Fast forward to 2009, $116,151.55 … that’s over $10,000 and 10% salary increase.

In fact, reviewing the payroll data, it appears that it is not uncommon for Mr. Kline’s staff to receive “year end pay adjustments” to the tune of $2,000 to $3,000 each year … some as much as 30%.

Why Mr. Kline is accepting applications for this Scheduler/Executive Assistant is not stated in his advertisement. One would hope that this would not be a new creation … or a temporary replacement while a member of his current staff has been moved to his campaign re-election committee.
For example, using Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN-06) as an example … her Chief of Staff Julie Quist temporarily left her Congressional assignment to work on Ms. Bachmann’s re-election campaign late in 2008 … but returned afterward … during the time that she was not on the Congressional Staff, Ms. Quist was paid as a campaign consultant by the Bachmann campaign committee. However when she returned to the Congressional staff, Ms. Quist received a one-time payroll adjustment of $6,250 … in essence, it would appear that the taxpayers paid for her lost wages. Under the MRA rules, Ms. Bachmann controls how and who she pays.

It’s funny that the winner in the second week of the Republican YouCut program was to eliminate federal pay raises. Just makes you wonder what good it would do to eliminate pay raises, when members of Congress seem to spend our monies with so much freedom.

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