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Iowa governor right to reward innovation

January 16, 2013
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

One of the problems in our society involves political pressure arising from backward thinking, coming from places such as public employee unions. Like the one in Iowa, where the union has attacked Gov. Terry Branstad for granting bonuses to state agency heads who find ways to be more efficient.

In the case of the state Civil Rights Commission, the chief got a $5,000 bonus for firing problem employees and working to eliminate a backlog of investigations. The union says the bonus allowed the agency head to receive pay in excess of state salary caps. It also suggests the bonus is unseemly when Branstad is seeking to make public employees pay more for their health care benefits.

But the Civil Rights Commission chief did not make the changes in order to get a bonus. Rather, the bonus was Branstad's way of making it clear that the state wants its leaders to be innovative. All of this is unrelated to how much state employees should pay for health care coverage. (Getting them to contribute something is a way to reduce the burden on the state, and the state simply represents taxpayers.)

We don't want to see Branstad hand out bonuses willy-nilly. But again, his point was to make a point. And it is a good one.

 
 

 

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