Governor Tom Vilsack says he’s making no apologies for awarding bonuses to top state managers. He says it’s important in difficult and stressful time to have the very best and brightest people working for you.Vilsack says the bonuses are part of running government more like a business, and rewarding managers who are creative and doing well in trying circumstances Vilsack says the state workforce has been cut nine percent during his tenure, and this year’s budget is 224 million dollars less than the budget of 1999. He say when you do more work with fewer people in the private sector, you get more pay. Vilsack says that’s who the state is competing against.Vilsack says with a “small investment” he’s getting a huge return in the work ethic of state workers. Critics say Vilsack, by awarding bonuses, has violated the salary limits the Legislature establishes for certain management positions.Vilsack, a Democrat, may endorse a presidential candidate before Iowa’s Caucuses in January. Governor Tom Vilsack did not endorse a candidate before the 2000 Caucus contest between Al Gore and Bill Bradley, but this time around he may. Vilsack says his endorsement could help some undecided voters to make a decision, but Vilsack says an endorsement from him or anybody won’t necessarily be the key for any candidate to win. Vilsack says Democratic activists in Iowa are excited about the prospects for unseating President Bush.Vilsack says Democrats believe Bush is vulnerable because of the quagmire of Iraq, and Bush’s inability to enlist aid from other nations to share the burden of policing and rebuilding Iraq. In addition, Vilsack says the nation’s economy is a millstone around Bush’s neck. Governor Vilsack says the federal Farm Service Agency should complete its drought assessment of 20 Iowa counties by the end of the month. Vilsack says once that’s done, he’ll ask for low interest loans, the release of Conservation Reserve acres for haying and grazing livestock, and other aid for financially-strapped farmers.Vilsack says the Farm Service Agency had asked Vilsack to hold off on his request for a drought assessment, but he says he pressed forward to let farmers know officials were aware of their plight. Vilsack says while some parts of the state received welcome rain recently, most of the state suffered through a long, dry spell which did damage to the crops.The Governor is urging Congress to act on several fronts, including the bill that would extend prescription drug coverage to the nation’s senior citizens. Vilsack says Congress has an enormous amount of work to do that will directly impact the lives of Iowans. Vilsack cites several bills, including one that would finance road construction projects — creating jobs in the process — as crucial.Vilsack says the Republican-led Congress can’t keep making promises it doesn’t keep, because “real people are affected.” Vilsack spoke this morning in his role as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. Vilsack is also calling for passage of bills that would provide money for schools and for states to buy new election equipment. In addition, he says it’s time for the House and Senate to agree on an energy bill that would address some of the problems which were highlighted by last month’s blackout in the northeast.
You are here: / / Governor addresses worker bonuses and other issues