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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tom Niehaus Doles Out Raises to Staffers

Posted By on Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 1:00 PM

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What’s a job-hunting college graduate to do in these unforgiving economic times? A knock on the door of state Senate President Tom Niehaus would make for a shrewd start.

The downstate Republican got face time earlier this year for his key support of Senate Bill 5, which clips the bargaining rights of teachers, cops, and other government workers, and clears the way for them to join the elite ranks of Ohio’s impoverishly employed.

Happily, those cutbacks aren’t cutting too close to home: News broke last week that Niehaus has larded his own staffers with generous raises. His chief of staff, previously scuffling along at $125,000, just got a $15K bump. His deputy director of finance recently turned a $60,000 salary into $85K. And to quell any whining, Niehaus made all raises retroactive to January 1, meaning every worker just took home a big fat make-up check.

By comparison, Democratic state Representative John Barnes of Cleveland says his aide makes $30,000. Barnes has no staff raises planned, but he is considering donuts on Friday.

Niehaus’ office declined comment. But he’s previously justified raises by noting that without them, these aides would be fleeing for one of the many private-sector companies that are begging to hire highly paid workers. Just point those hiring bosses in our direction, Tom, and we’ll call the whole thing even. — Anastasia Pantsios

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