Friday, July 8, 2011


UPDATED:  07/08/2011 AT 1:45 PM

Apparently, kudos are in order for Congressman Jim Renacci for - perhaps - putting the taxpayers' "money where his mouth is."

The SCPR has obtained data from LegiStorm which shows Renacci's congressional office staffing payroll for the first quarter 2011.  It is too early to tell but it seems as if Renacci (at a project per annum payroll of about $729,000 is well under what his predecessor (whom he defeated in November, 2010) John Boccieri spent while he was congressman.

In examining the Renacci data, The Report came across an interesting phenomenon.

It appears that Heidi Matthews, wife of Stark County GOP Chairman Jeff Matthews, has been an employee as a congressional staffer (mostly for retired Congressman Ralph Regula - a Republican) that must be an exemplary employee who personifies the type of person who does well under a merit pay system.

Republicans are known to favor merit pay plans over union "everybody gets a raise" or teacher union "negotiated step-increases" (aka longevity raises) plans.

Matthews started out with former Congressman Regula in 2011 making about $28,000 per annum.  By the time Regula was in his final term, she made nearly $100,000.  A 257% increase over 10 years.  WOW! 

There is an interesting pattern to the Matthews increases.  Either Regula decided to play Santa Claus with taxpayer money or Matthews really ratcheted up her job performance in each and every fourth quarter each year and merited getting a raise on her superior performance.

The question is:  will Congressman Jim Renacci to the Regula thing (big increases in the final quarter to avoid turning money back in)?

 It "appears" he is doing better than Boccieri did in terms of frugality on staff pay.  But the annualized numbers are project numbers based on extrapolating from 1st quarter numbers.  If Renacci does what Regula did with Matthews (huge raises in each and every final quarter of the year), the Renacci will like be "less" frugal than Boccieri was.

Time will tell!

A sidenote to the Republican nomination process one has to wonder what Chairman Jeff Matthews' (also a government employee - deputy director of the Stark Board of Elections at $105,286.97 per annum:  $76,707.80 as salary, $14,580.00 as annual health insurance and $13,999.17 as annual retirement) role was in getting his wife a job with Renacci. 

The recollection of The Report is that Matthews played a pivotal role in getting Renacci the Republican nomination over the likes of Ashland County hopeful Matt Miller.  Could there have been a "wink and a nod" understanding that should Renacci be elected that wife Heidi would be in line for a big paying job at taxpayer expense?  And remember, THESE ARE TAXPAYER DOLLARS, the general public has a right to have a fair opportunity to qualify for these jobs!!!

While Heidi Matthews is getting HUGE increases, Social Security retirees are getting ZIPPO in cost of living increases.  Hmm?  What's wrong with this picture?

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