Today, the Department of Administration conducted a hearing on Governor McKee’s request for pay raises for his cabinet directors, who all currently earn at least $100,000 per year, by as much as double digit percent points. Those pay hikes will take effect unless both chambers of the General Assembly return within 30 days to reject this proposal in special sessions of the respective chambers.
Senate Minority Leader Jessica de la Cruz and House Minority Leader Michael Chippendale reacted by stating: “Taxpayers and struggling Rhode Islanders are in disbelief. Governor McKee has warned about staggering energy price hikes, but he somehow thinks Rhode Islanders can afford double digit percent pay raises for high paid political appointees 45 days before an election. Is he serious?”
While the McKee Administration defends these double-digit pay increases by comparing Rhode Island’s department directors’ salaries to those in other states, Leaders de la Cruz and Chippendale responded:
“We recognize that agencies like DCYF are at a disadvantage when it comes to finding a permanent director, and that we should be paying more in limited cases, but this proposal is clearly a pre-election stunt. The Governor should instead focus on getting our gas and electricity rates on par before fattening the wallets of political appointees. If McKee truly wants to fight against staggering inflation, he should not focus on pay raises for insiders but on lower energy costs for seniors, retirees, and all Rhode Islanders. The people have had enough.”
Leader Chippendale and Leader de la Cruz are requesting, pursuant to Rhode Island General Law § 36-4-16.4 (d), that all 113 members of the General Assembly return to Smith Hill for a special session of the House and Senate within 30 days to be recorded in an up or down vote on these extraordinary pay hikes.
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