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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  • You think he’ll ask them to take out a full page thank you ad?

  • Anonymous

    I hate to quote Orwell because it’s too damned easy. But this whole “down is up” doublespeak has forced my hand:

    “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

  • He returneth what they have taken ,and taketh away something else the right to collevtively bargain.

  • Delco

    Thank you for writing about this, Modern. I was seething when I read Nichols statement today, as if state workers were not promised that taking the 4% paycut, giving up 32 hours/year of personal leave, and freezing longevity pay for two years was the right thing to do for the good of the masses, and that we would be going back to the status quo in two years. State workers grumbled, but those concessions were supported in good faith on that promise. So now, as a state worker, looking at my check, the budget bill, and SB 5, I have lost $7,000 in pay in the past two years, a week and a half of earned leave, will have no pay raise for six years. Not to mention assuming more of our health care bill again (as all workers, private and public have done), another $1800/year for PERS (plus more in federal taxes beginning last January because the recent federal payroll tax break was only for those paying into social security) . But the biggest hit of all that Nichols fails to mention is tht SB 5 GETS RID OF LONGEVITY PAY, to be replaced by a merit pay system that no state employee will ever see. Does anyone remember the Republican idea of a “payraise” called “Step 7” that is still in the law and was never implemented over the last decade? It was intended to allow a semi-merit system for exemplary workers that never happened. The loss of longevity under SB 5 and the PERS 2% pickup will result in a NINE PERCENT PAYCUT ON MY PAYCHECK, MR. NICHOLS, not including increasing federal taxes and healthcare costs and less leave accrual. Yes, I am greatful for a job. Yes, I am not unlike many others that will have to find a second job to replace the income. But do NOT insult us by saying that this is a payraise.

  • MissGov

    That actually would be a very good idea. But, only if it contained the right amount of sarcasm.

  • Columbusite

    Who do these jackasses think they’re fooling.. besides the Columbus disgrace?

  • Robert

    yup and ketchup is a vegetable

  • guest

    smokey, maybe you din’t get it… you gave up a part of your pay to help make ends meet. Then when your pay was reinstated to its proper level you are back where you started.

    I know Gov Kasich is getting ready to knock gifted students down to our levels, but even I know that is not a raise.

  • Anonymous

    I’m warning you for the last time, RghtWlly, if you continue to post under two different accounts, I’m banning you (M.E.) Strickland’s budgets were not only balanced, he actually left a surplus that Kasich relies on to balance his budget.

    Kasich doesn’t kick the can down the road? The first year of his budget is filled with one-time money. Both years rely on taking money collected for local government and letting the cities keep it, and he’s unfunding libaries less than Strickland and at levels below what is called for under Ohio’s laws.

    He’s “balanced” his budget by shifting the State’s deficit onto local communities that were already struggling with deficits of their own. This isn’t a reform budget. It’s a giant shell game.

  • Adrienne

    This is going to be a recurring theme of “let them eat cake” for the duration of his administration. He really is doing working people of the state of Ohio a big favor. NOT!

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    that should have been quote of the day !! thx Eric for a good chuckle
    the only ad I look forward to seeing is Goodbye OL Impeached One !

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    HAHAHA this was truely funny — Eric had the best of the day !
    Well if you ask me ( I know you didnt but I am answering anyhow ) Kasich is sitting up at nite trying to figure out how he can get that money back.
    Sad thing about Sb 5 we will win — I believe– BUT it wont stop
    the privatizing out of state jobs or lay offs —
    Does anyone know what the companies that are private inside BWC make? I have tried to get that info — one is Sheakley, another is Care works … I would be curious to know what their benefits and salaries are compared to the old state employees there and what their CEO’s make.
    One more thing — these CSD days — well it is against the law to have workers work w/o pay — or else this clown would make us do it — I am sure when it comes to a raise for the congress and his folks there will be no confusion — a raise they can vote on themselves — what irony !!

  • Brllns

    Funny Kasich acts like it was his idea to not make state workers take 10 furlough days next year,it was negotiated as only for 2 years out of a 3 year contract.
    To say it was a pay raise shows how simple he really is!

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