What figure matters?

RCJ has an article today about the salary amount that Gov. Daugaard has set for his Lt. Gov. Matt Michels — making Michels the 12th highest paid Lt. Gov. in the nation.  Not exactly a factoid that makes one think of tough budget decisions and austerity.  But….if you look at the bottom line — Gov. Daugaard has cut his staff’s pay by $185,000 over the total paid during the Rounds administration.  Frankly — that is a factoid that leads by example on austerity.

Personally — if Gov. Daugaard had asked me about what salary he should set for his Lt……I would have suggested a lower figure — call me old fashioned but I find it out of place to have the Lt. paid more than the Gov…..anyway….the other relevant reason for having set the salary lower is to avoid the storm that is happening now….the $120,000 that the very qualified Michels is receiving from SD has distracted folks and diminished the hard choices that the Gov. has already made in his executive office budget….savings that are nothing to sneeze at and at the end of the day — that is the figure that should matter.  As our chief executive, Gov. Daugaard can divide the pie in anyway he sees fit — that’s part of the power we gave him on November 2nd.  The bottom line and the story is — he’s already saving SD money.

10 Replies to “What figure matters?”

  1. springer

    Yes, he saved money. But he would have saved a lot more if he had paid the lt gov a more reasonable salary. State workers are receiving no raise for three years in a row. It makes me wonder why the lt gov salary was set so high, and I think the gov should explain this.

  2. 73*

    Daugaard probably picked the salary he would have like as Lt. Gov. I know Michaels is an awesome human being. One of the best in SD. I agree this doesn’t look good but oh well.

  3. Lee Schoenbeck

    I suspect that the Gov was motivated by Matt’s expertise in the area of medical issues. Medicaid is the largest fiscal issue the state faces. The state needs a full court press on this issue, and Matt provides that weapon. Sen Mark Johnston’s expertise from his position at Sanford is probably going to make him a valuable resource on that issue too. This is the state’s number one fiscal time bomb. If this is Matt’s main focus, the state has a bargain.

  4. Duh

    I can guarantee you Matt took a pay cut. I understand that this is public service and that you shouldn’t be making money. However, quality people need to be compensated. If he does what I think he can, the state will save multiples of that amount.

  5. Anon

    Sounds like the usual paycheck envy among whiners who wish they could make what Michels is making. Problem is, they never will because they won’t do anything to improve themselves.

  6. anon

    Had they paid Michels three times that amount, it would have still been a bargain.

    Before you condemn, observe…. Michels is a top-level executive who could make five to ten times that salary in many jobs. He believes in service to his state and his country, and probably took a substantial pay decrease to serve as a full-time Lt. Gov.

  7. Shamrock

    Message from the new administration: “political cronies are worth big bucks. Teachers and rank and file state employees don’t need much money due to SD’s supposedly low cost of living”

    How is it fiscally conservative to hire someone at such a high salary while adding another 0.5 FTE. Why not keep the Lt. at part time like he said he would do during the campaign? The first of many broken promises I’m sure.


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