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Republicans criticize Democrat Evers for paying aides more



MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Some Republicans are criticizing Democratic Gov. Tony Evers after state records showed that that his administration is paying 11 top aides at least 10 percent more than their predecessors were paid under former GOP Gov. Scott Walker.

Twenty-seven of Evers’ aides are set to make a total of $3.5 million this year, which is roughly $200,000 more than the former Republican governor paid their counterparts, according to the figures first posted online last week by conservative think tank MacIver Institute.

The Wisconsin Department of Administration released records Monday showing that Revenue Secretary Peter Barca and Tourism Secretary Sara Meaney are making 14 percent more than the people they replaced, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Barca’s $145,000 salary is about $17,500 more than the $127,400 made by Walker’s longtime revenue secretary, Richard Chandler.

Meaney is being paid $130,000, or roughly $16,000 more than former Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett, who made $114,200.

Administration Secretary Joel Brennan is the highest paid official in Evers’ cabinet with a $152,800 salary. Brennan is making 11 percent more than former Secretary Ellen Nowak, who was paid $137,400.

Republican Sen. Tom Tiffany, of Hazlehurst, called the pay increases “excessive” and part of a “Madison-first mentality” by Evers.

“I understand that people sometimes come out of the private sector and take positions like this and they take pay reductions, but that’s part of service to your state,” Tiffany said.

Republican Sen. Rob Cowles criticized the raises for being allocated before Evers’ aides have been able to prove their worth.

“If these people show after a period of time they can do the job, then I would understand it. But not right out of the chute,” said Cowles, of Green Bay.

Evers’ spokeswoman, Melissa Baldauff, said Evers “believes in fair compensation for the professionals who choose to serve our communities.”

Some of Evers’ aides are earning more and others are earning less than they were before joining the administration, Baldauff said.

“The end result is a diverse and talented group of leaders serving our state, and taxpayers will benefit from their expertise,” she said.

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