Nixon criticized over staff member pay scale and method

Saturday, February 28, 2009 | 2:58 p.m. CST; updated 4:16 p.m. CST, Saturday, February 28, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is paying nearly half of his 29 staff members from departments outside the office of governor.

That's according to the Kansas City Star, which says Nixon also is paying many top aides more than their predecessors received under former Gov. Matt Blunt.

But Nixon administration officials say Blunt, a Republican, forced their hand to take money from other departments by busting the governor's budget before leaving office.

They also defend the six-figure salaries, which they say pay for talent, and come at the expense of several lower-level positions typically employed by the office.

Audits from 1995, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2008 found similar patterns. 

Records show that a lot of Nixon's staff is being paid out of the budget for the Office of Administration, the managerial arm of government. In all, $589, 441 is being paid from the budget to 12 staff members in this fiscal year,  which ends on June 30.

Nixon's spokesperson Jack Cardetti said that it is unlikely that the office of the governor would follow the auditors recommendation anytime soon.

But critics say the salaries are irresponsible during a recession and that putting them in other departments raises accountability and transparency concerns.


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Jeff Layben March 4, 2009 | 8:33 a.m.

This is no-news, same-old, same-old. Missouri governors have been funding their staff out of agency budgets for many years. Governors have a lot of cute tricks to manipulate the budget. This is just one.

(Report Comment)
Kristina Farrah July 21, 2009 | 9:57 a.m.

I am speaking up that Missouri is forcing the elderly and disabled to live below poverty. The elderly and disabled who need medical support are expected to live on $678 am month for a single person and $909 for a couple. If you make more than that you are required to pay it to the state for medical assistance.
The federal poverty level is more than that!!
The 2008-2009 poverty guidlines are:
A single individual is $10,830 equals $1,080 monthly.
For a family of 2 is $14,570 equals $1,214.17 monthly.
Family of 4 is $22,050 equals $1,837.50
How many of you can survive with home, utilities, and groceries for that as well as vehicl insurance that is the law and for the gas to get back and forth to the doctors and grocery store?
Yet we pay our government officials almost what a single individual is allowed for a year in a month. How can the government tell people that they can only make 85% of the poverty level to live on when they have a years income in one month?
I have worked on a disabled individuals budget and she can not make it! The income based housing payment for a 1 bedroom apartment is $380. with utilities included, $34 a month for phone, $25 a month for basic tv (local chanels), $75 a month life insurance, $60 a month for vehicle insurance, and $54 for perscription co-pays. That totals $628.00 a month in bills. The government says she is only allowed to have the $678 a month to live on. She only has $50.00 to buy groceries, toliet paper, soap, deoderant, laundry detergent, and gas to go to the doctor for a whole month. She only qualifies for $74.oo in food stamps.
I took her to the store and she had enough money in food stamps to buy enough food for 2 meals a day for about 20 days. So there are 10 days in a month she does not have groceries.
And out government spend more on a meal than she has for the whole month.
How is all of this justified? Yet our government feels we need to help other countries and our own country is living below poverty and not supporting our own people!

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr July 21, 2009 | 11:10 a.m.

Kristina Farrah your elderly client can sign up for the CMAAA food program if she is over 60. They deliver meals to the elderly once a week. There are 7 meals per bag plus bread, milk and other assorted snack goodies. Holidays often times they will double up on the meal order per client. The program is free to those over 60.

Your client can also go to the CMFB once per month to attain extra food too. If she lives in CHA Housing she is also entitled top go to their Food Pantry and she can call the Switzler Street office for more info.

Yes it is hard living on only $678.00 a month and trying to make all of your needs especially with the load you describe your client has.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield July 21, 2009 | 12:22 p.m.

I know a couple with a child. They are 24 and 25 and choose not to work. They get more than $500 a month in food stamps. The father recently bought an iPhone, which costs more than $60 a month for service. They live with his parents and eat out several times a week.

Why do we as a society allow certain people to sponge off of us? People who are able to work but choose not to should not be on the dole.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr July 21, 2009 | 12:31 p.m.

I talked with a young man yesterday. He has a wife doing part time work that is very sporadic in nature. He told me he is putting in about 6 employment applications a week. Sometimes he gets a call but often times not. Sometimes he might get a second call but still no job. He told me he has been doing this for over 6 months now to no avail. Him and his wife git married and moved out of public housing over a year and a half ago and are now looking to get back into public housing once again due to the economy.

This is just one of millions of like stories across our entire nation.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking July 21, 2009 | 12:54 p.m.

Kristina, your disabled friend can do better than she is at managing her money.

She should shop around for better deals on her insurances - I pay less than $20/month for my auto insurance, and $900/year for life insurance seems awfully steep. A wireline phone is about $21/month, and she might think about getting an antenna for her TV and dropping the cable. Fixing all of these things could give her an extra $80 or more/month, which would make a lot of difference in her situation.


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr July 22, 2009 | 4:00 a.m.

I did not comment on this right away because it kinda pissed me off that somebody would tell a Senior Citizen who has earned their rights to a few creature comforts to dummy down their budget when it might be the last thins they have to enjoy in life itself.

Ya Mark the elderly should just get rid of all of their various creature comforts and be miserable in their old age. You really are a dipschlitz of a human.

Maybe her Life Insurance is so high because she has coverage leaving a nice chunk to her kids perhaps to ensure their future well being or even to a charity she is very fond of. People still do those things you know.

Maybe she has a cell phone due to she might want to hear immediately about all of her various appointments and important calls as they come in plus her children can call her on the go anytime and anywhere.

Maybe with her cable TV she gets the channels she wants and enjoys instead of only the few that you get over an antenna rig.

Maybe her auto insurance is the way it is for another reason.

Either way with out knowing your telling some Senior Citizen to dummy down their budget is just like me telling you to dummy yourself down so your lab rats can understand your Howdy Doody mentality on life.

You are such a dipstick Mark I swear!!!!

(Report Comment)
Kristina Farrah August 24, 2009 | 8:50 a.m.

Thank you Charles for voicing yourself!
Mark, I have worked with this individual as well as many other disabled and elderly people in the same situation. She is not the only one in Missouri let alone the United States struggling like this. I can not believe you would tell a person basically give everything up, sit in your home and basically die slowly as they do not deserve anything for the life they have.
I have shopped around for her life insurance and she has the cheapest policy we could find for her as she has some medical conditions that rase her rates. She has a $5,000 policy, not enough for what funerals are going for now! Better than having nothing for her family when something happens to her.
Her phone bill is this way as she calls her 4 children who are long distance for her, all her specialists are long distance numbers. So I told her it was cheaper for her to put a unlimited long distance on her phone. This makes her have a higher monthly bill but she does not have to worry about long distance.
Now that the television stations have went to the analog, she could not get any channels because her tv was not new enough. She got the coupon from the government for the box. That did not work till she had a smart antenna hooked up to it. I personally went out and paid for the smart antenna for her. This still did not give her any channels. I asked around about the problem and her son even come to check it out. Her son works on all that kind of stuff. He said it was not going to work for her in the area she lives. So the best thing for her to do was put the bare basics in from cable.
I have questioned her insurance and for full coverage the cheapest rate for her is $58.72 a month.
She is only 52 years old and does not qualify for the CMAAA program for food. I have taken her to the food pantry several times. She is allowed it one time a month and I was in shock of what they give her. It was 1 loaf of bread, 2 deer burger rolls (2lbs), 1 crunchy peanut butter, box of gummies, 1 can mixed vegetables, 1 can corn, 2 mixed vegetables, 5lbs of potatoes, 1 gatorade, 1 snack size box of popcorn, 1 bar of soap,and 1lb of ground turkey. I stood in line with her for over an hour and it did not really help her out much. The crunchy peanut butter and popcorn she had to give back as she can not eat them.
That is the only help for food she can get in the area she lives in and it is only once a month.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 24, 2009 | 10:16 a.m.

Kristina Farrah thank you for posting and it is stories like yours and mine that need to get out into the media more.

(Report Comment)
Kristina Farrah September 17, 2009 | 4:27 a.m.

Charles I totally agree, but how can we voice this to the public and get action to it?
I would like to start up an organization to fight to help the elderly and disabled to not have to live at 85% of the Federal Poverty Level to have some kind of medical assistance. It is rediculouse that the elderly and disabled citizens who did work a productive life and got short changed due to medical reasons are not being able to adequatly take care of themselves. Some are even required to pay several hundred dollars to the social services for assistance. Yet our Missouri governors are sitting and making almost a years income for some in one month!! Where has the standards and morals went to in our country?? Why are we allowing such a high wage for our government to do more harm to the citizens in Missouri as well as the United States?
If anyone knows how to start up an organization and can give me advice on what to do please let me know!

(Report Comment)

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