Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols has a very difficult job to do.  As the press secretary for Governor Kasich, he has work with the media despite his boss’ open contempt for them.  In addition, he’s often called upon to defend the indefensible, such as arguing that lobbyist/utility industry executives laden PUCO adequately protects consumers, so it’s okay that Ohio is slashing the budget of the Consumers Counsel by more than half.

But at times, Nichols can exceed his own boss in saying really stupid and politically incorrect things.  For example, during the campaign, Rob Nichols forced the campaign and Kasich to publicly apologize for attacking Ted Strickland’s humble upbringing in a misguided attempt to present Kasich as somehow better on urban issues than Kasich.

Today, the Columbus Dispatch reports that the State’s pension funds are concerned that Kasich’s budget proposal to shift an addition 2% of the contributions from the employer to the employee may affect the pension’s ability to comply with the statutory 30-year solvency mandate. 

But given that state employees are already planning to contribute more to keep the pensions solvent (an issue that has only arisen due to the losses on Wall Street caused by the collapse of Lehman Brothers), the Dispatch asked if insisting on an additional increase on top of the one they’re already taken is fair to the employees.  Here’s what the Dispatch reported was the Administration’s response:

Nichols noted that the administration is allowing state workers’ furlough days to end in July – as called for in their contract – effectively providing a 3.7 percent raise. State employees had to take two weeks off without pay the past two years.

Nichols said because the renegotiated collective bargaining agreements call for an end of unpaid furloughs at the start of the new fiscal year, a provision the Administration is graciously honoring, then these labor folks are actually getting a raise.

Think about that for a moment.  Ending unpaid furloughs are considered a raise.  Never mind that the government, in turn, also gets the additional productivity.  Never mind that the rate of pay is the same.   A raise… for getting paid the same and not being asked to go two-weeks with no work with no pay.

These people are unbelievable.  I guess John Kasich expects labor to thank him for their “raises?”

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