FITSNews Exclusive – Salary Increases Tied To No-Bid Contract November 9, 2007Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
SECOND NO-BID SCANDAL ROCKS STATE BUDGET AND CONTROL BOARD
FITSNews – November 9, 2007 – Protecting the taxpayers of South Carolina is a lot like playing “Whack-A-Mole,” because the second one scandal gets dealt with, another one pops up immediately to take its place.
Just this week, South Carolina’s uniquely-inefficient Budget & Control Board finally ended its wasteful practice of awarding a $20 million insurance policy to the same politically-connected firm without a competitive bidding process, a sweetheart deal that cost the taxpayers tens of millions over the past two decades.
Today, FITSNews has learned that another decades-old no-bid scam is the driving force behind the double-digit salary increases recently awarded to Budget & Control Board Executive Director Frank Fusco and several other state officials.
While Gov. Mark Sanford and the mainstream press were predictibly all over the salary increases, both failed to pick up on the fact that the company responsible for recommending them, Hay Management Consulting Group, has had a no-bid contract with the Budget & Control Board for the past twenty years. Not surprisingly, they’re feeding the hand that feeds them, giving Fusco a $22,922 (15.23%) raise that brings his current annual salary to $173,380.
Incidentally, none of the $177,000 worth of pay raises awared by the Budget & Control Board this week included a salary review, and a spokesman for Hay Management Consulting Group in Charlotte, N.C., did not return calls from FITSNews seeking comment as to the methodology the company used in recommending them.
Most government management consultants use market comparison data from similar positions in other states to determine salary recommendations, but in Fusco’s case that’s impossible to do. How come? Well, South Carolina is the only state in the nation with a quasi-legislative, quasi-executive entity like the Budget & Control Board, meaning Fusco’s position simply doesn’t exist in other states.
Yet even if Fusco’s $22,922 “early Christmas present” is justifiable from a market standpoint (our guess is that it’s not), the fact that it was recommended by a group enjoying a decades-old, no-bid contract with his agency is highly-suspicious. Also, awarding $177,000 in raises to upper-level state employees at a time when South Carolina is facing a projected half-billion dollar shortfall for the coming fiscal year strikes us as highly-irresponsible.
Of course, “highly-suspicious” and “highly irresponsible” actions are pretty much par for the course in South Carolina government, especially on the State Budget & Control Board.
In case you were wondering, the deciding vote to approve these salary increases was cast by new State Treasurer Converse Chellis, who once again voted exactly how State Sen. Hugh Leatherman and House Ways & Means Chairman Dan Cooper probably instructed him to vote.
We said all along that Chellis was going to be nothing more than a sock puppet, and thusfar he’s proving us right at every turn.