Governor Mead Defends Pay Raises Amidst Fiscal Crisis
"These raises were awarded in a better revenue environment," said Mead. "They were awarded at a time when some state employees had not received a raise in more than four years."
Mead, who detailed $248 million in budget cuts Tuesday, has been under heavy fire since documents released by his office in April showed his Chief of Staff, Kari Gray, had received a nearly 40 percent pay increase and others in his office had received sizable raises.
"They were in place prior to the current fiscal crisis," said Mead. "Those employees with the highest performance and who's pay was the furthest from market for their classification received the largest raises, first in July of 2014 and again in July 2015."
Mead, in March, also vetoed a provision of the budget that prohibited raises for state employees who earned $100,000 or more.
"I vetoed this provision because I believed then, and believe now, that it was too broad," said Mead. "If we're asking people to do more with less, we still have to find talented and skilled employees and we must pay them appropriately."
"Raises should not be planned or given in times of fiscal crisis," added Mead. "But we do have to have competitive salaries to fill some of these key positions."