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.
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.