When salary schedules become 'salacious' testimony - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, October 26, 2021
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When salary schedules become ‘salacious’ testimony

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REP. KREISS-TOMPKINS SEARCHES FOR A WORD, FINDS A SEXY ONE

Last Thursday, Department of Public Safety Commissioner Amanda Price made a presentation to a House Finance subcommittee on the Village Public Safety Officer program, in which she included facts that the highest paid VPSO in the system, with fringe benefits, costs the state $178,000, and that two positions in one area of the state were costing $350,000.

She continued to explain that the 43-member VPSO program costs the state $13 million in the proposed Walker budget, and $11 million in the Dunleavy budget. Because there are so many unfilled positions, the Dunleavy budget is lower.

She described challenges of recruiting and retention, and the relationship between the state, which provides the funding, and the tribal organizations that manage the VPSO programs. She said the department loves the VPSO program, in spite of its challenges.

There were a lot of numbers in her presentation, but those high salaries certainly stood out to the House Finance subcommittee on Public Safety. They brought questions.

Rep. Matt Claman asked Price several times if $350,000 is too much for two positions, and she artfully responded that she was merely providing the appropriators like him with the data, that she wasn’t saying the pay is too much or not enough.

Rep. Kreiss-Tompkins

Then came Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tompkins, who in spite of his Yale education, struggled to find the right word.

The word he ended up using was “salaciousness.”

“There’s a certain salaciousness about splashing around larger numbers,” Kreiss-Tompkins said, in reference to Price’s presentation about the specific pay of VPSOs.

The only word that Kreiss-Tompkins could find to describe that salary analysis was “salaciousness?”

Commissioner Price is, readers know, the first female commissioner of the Alaska Department of Public Safety, and she’s undeniably attractive. (OK, she’s hot, guys, but was her fiscal analysis actually salacious?)

(Salacious: having or conveying undue or inappropriate interest in sexual matters.)

Price returned to the mic after a bit and gave her perspective:

“I’d like to comment on Rep. Kreiss-Tompkins, and just reflect that it was not my intention to make insinuations. I’m providing data, and some of the language selections that you made, sir, I think created an opportunity. You used the word ‘salacious’ … I would like to put forward that all of your salaries is public, my salary is public, Alaska state troopers salary is public. The public has a right to know how the public dollars that are being appropriated and allocated are being utilized and it’s my responsibility to address how those funds are being utilized. I put that information forward to provide information to provide some perspective and clarity for a body that may  or may not have had that not have had that knowledge.

“It was not in fact sir was meant to be salacious or insinuate anything,” she concluded.

(Salacious synonyms: pornographic, obscene, indecent, improper, crude, lewd, erotic, titillating, arousing, suggestive, sexy, risqué, coarse, vulgar, gross, dirty, ribald, smutty, filthy, bawdy…)

There, she said it. She didn’t mean to be salacious, Rep. Kreiss-Tompkins.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Another day in Juneau …. “Open Mouth, Insert Foot”!!!

    • Confucious say, “a closed mouth gathers no foot”.

  • She gave far too kind of a response to Rep Kreiss-Tompkins. What it it with these liberals and their hyphenated last names?

    Having said that, Ms. Price can be as salacious as she pleases with me!

  • Kreiss-Tompkins either got sexually frustrated and had a Freudian slip, or, he was trying to imagine how Byron Mallott would have handled the VPSO salary situation. btw……..

    • Speaking of VPSOs and Mallott, hopefully we all saw the news the other day about what’s-her-face getting a free pass on her little incident last summer. Is this payback or does this mean that she’s now part of the Good Old “Boys” Club? The good old boys in Fairbanks would appear to rather look the other way at obvious criminal mischief and instead target folks like Chris Ripple for publishing an alternative newspaper whose content included the compensation of public servants, something the FDNM used to routinely publish as a community service before deciding it was safer to reprint press releases instead. And thanks for pointing out the real meaning of “salacious”. I can see a music video in all of this: I’m too sexy for my…salary?

      • Right Said Fred! Salaciousness is in the eye of the beholder. Thanks for the intel on the VPSO Coordinator getting “a free pass”. I hadn’t heard that one. I feel a need to check it further and follow the money……

  • To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a salacious comment is just a salacious comment…

    Can you imagine if Senator David Wilson would say that to a female Democrat? After the firestorm that would follow, Juneau might not be inhabitable…guess he should try it.

  • Suzanne, if memory serves me correctly, JKT did not complete his Yale education as he left early to “carpet bag” the Sitka seat.

    • The real question is….how did he even get into Yale? Did he qualify as a displaced ballerina from Sitka?

  • Perhaps JKT is sexually uncomfortable when addressing females. But, if the libs keep pushing their agenda and getting their way, “she” can’t be called a “she”, men and women are the same, remember? Commissioner Price is just Commissioner Price. No one is supposed to notice anything. Nothing to see here…keep moving along…..
    .
    Send him a dictionary, thesaurus, and a Black Rifles Matter sticker. You can’t make this stuff up and you can’t make these people up! The calm, educated and tactful dressing down (pun?) of these so called lawmakers by the Dunleavy appointees has been fun to watch.

  • $178,000 for a VSPO? Seriously?

    Maybe Jonathan meant to say seriously and got tounge tied, because…SERIOUSLY $178,000 for a VSPO?!?!

    I don’t care how dumb a Yale (partially) educated lawmaker or how hot a Public Safety Commissioner might be, $178,000 for a VSPO is absurd.

    • Did you notice that they have recruitment and retention issue Mr. Law & Order? Easy money.
      .
      Welcome to Kivalina.

      • I did notice that, I’m not looking for a job or relocation. Seems like one of the friendly villagers would jump all over $178,000 unless of course money isn’t the issue…

        • Haven’t you heard how dealing with belligerent members of the public in remote locations is a dream job? You’re right, sometimes money is not the issue.

          .

          Most of those places need to dry up entirely. In the mean time the State should be in there helping to make those communities safe.

        • It’s no fun arresting your relatives. Grandma will be on the phone asking you what the hell you’re doing.

    • Right-O. That was enough for Byron Mallott to snag a young girl on the side. btw….. where IS old Byron?

  • Provocative would have been my word.

    .

    Then I would have asked her how she planned to resolved the recruitment and retention issues while reducing/limiting compensation. I’m sure there are good ideas out there. Have they been explored?

  • Most likely that cost included all benefits. So the salary paid to the employee would be in the 145K to 155K range.

    Pay in these areas is high because of multiple factors, but local inflation being the main cause. That inflation is tied to the remoteness of the area and the limited travel choices. Throw in cost of goods and services and that drive up the inflation. Your $145 to $155K+ benfits salary doesn’t go far there.

    So if you are still objecting to that ridiculous amount you should apply for a position Stevo-O. The article did says they hand unfilled and available position yet. I am sure they would love some fresh faces in the bush.

    Or were you just trolling?

    • Most VSPO postions are filled from within the community, and in any community that has a VSPO $178,000 is a lot of money just like it is in communities that have troopers or police.

      I have no desire to be a VSPO and relocating to a remote community so I won’t be putting in for any of the positions, but thanks for the offer of almost $200K. Can I still object, or is it your opinion that only those willing to take a VSPO position for almost $200K are allowed to have an opinion? If so, good luck with that new VSPO job, I’ve heard they are having trouble recruiting.

      • So the Governor can expect to take a hit on crime then. I wonder how he’ll explain ranking last again on sexual assault and other violent crimes? You know as a leader who is responsible and accountable.

  • According to Wikipedia, JK-T dropped out of Yale to run for the house in 2012.

  • Trolling it is then…

  • What was indicated in the article, and I cut and paste, says “she included facts that the highest paid VPSO in the system, with fringe benefits, costs the state $178,000, and that two positions in one area of the state were costing $350,000”. This is the HIGHEST paid VPSO in the system. With that, the person holding that position probably has been there quite some time to be at the $178K level with fringe. Salary/Fringe is about a 70/30 percent split, and some publications indicate 60/40 so I am guessing the person’s salary, less fringe, is approximately somewhere between $106K-$125K. I also am guessing the 2 positions @ $350K (combined) also include fringe.
    .
    My general math skills are pretty salacious, so a payroll expert might have to check my work 😉 When this is coupled with living in remote Alaska and the cost of living, it isn’t a lot of money for a seasoned, highest paid VPSO. They DO NOT start out at that salary – not even close. This I know to be true as I’m acquainted with a former VPSO. With organizations operating the program, i.e., Tanana Chiefs Conference, I am not sure how that all works in terms of salary negotiations, starting pay per region, etc. etc. I do know they get the privilege of working in some interesting and often dysfunctional remote conditions, do not get to pack heat and have to arrest their family members on a regular basis.
    .
    I would venture to bet that the salary isn’t attractive enough for the conditions and requirements for most people. I would also bet that although many in those communities would just love to make that kind of money as jobs are far and few between, there is probably a pesky drug and alcohol wizz quiz that many have difficulty passing. Before someone thinks I’m ragging on villagers, think again. It’s an employment problem all over the nation in jobs where testing is required and getting worse with the legalization of marijuana. It is getting to the point that the only requirement to get a job is to show up on time and wizz clean. It puts you at the top of the applicant pool regardless of any other skills. Remember that kids, as you contemplate a life of living in mom’s basement and riding the bus. Step away from the bong.
    .
    There is probably a lot of OT calculated into those salaries too, perhaps hazard pay, geographic differential, etc. etc. Yes, it appears to be a lot of money on the outside looking in, but this is one area of the budget that doesn’t personally upset me. Law enforcement of some type has to be present in these communities and this program is really all we have to fill that void. There are so many other fights in the budget besides this one. Let’s start by eliminating the Human NO-RIGHTS Commission.

    • Well said…

  • Don’t know who Garnet is, but they gave a great perspective. The money isn’t that good, but there are benefits that the local Associations provide. However, where Do You Take your Time Off? How do you get coverage when you need a vacation? And who in their right mind would want that job? Think of (former) Pastor, VPSO Madole, who was killed in Manokotak? The City even pays for new-ish housing for VPSO’s there and still has trouble recruiting. The local manager told me that there would not be recruiting for a VPSO until we, as a community, could provide housing.

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