Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says bonuses should reward achievement, but he’s granted bonuses in the last two years to just-hired state agency heads.
Branstad spoke for the first time Tuesday to The Gazette about why he’s approved bonuses totaling more than $128,000 for three state directors since January 2011.
“Once in a while, there is a situation where someone has done an extraordinarily good job that should be considered for a bonus,” Branstad said.
Branstad approved an $800-per-pay period housing allowance for Department of Revenue Director Courtney Kay-Decker in June 2011 that raised her first-year salary by $20,800 to $175,000. The maximum salary set by law for the revenue director is $154,300.
K. Brian London was hired as Public Safety commissioner in October at an annual salary of $128,890 – the upper limit of his salary range – but Branstad authorized a $16,110 recruitment bonus to raise London’s pay to $145,000.
Branstad said he favors awarding bonuses over raising state salary caps.
“The difference between bonus and pay is that a bonus is a one-time deal,” he said. “A pay-rate increase is permanent, so it actually costs the taxpayer more. If a state employee gets a pay raise, that is the base on which they are paid from there going forward.”
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