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Story Archives: The wrong sell
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|The wrong sell|
As head of the state's Department of Economic Development, it's Stephen Moret's job to market Louisiana to businesses here and elsewhere.
Mr. Moret then should stop selling himself and try to make a sell for Louisiana first.
With the backing of Gov. Bobby Jindal, Mr. Moret is lobbying legislators for an almost $75,000 pay raise to bump his salary to $320,000 a year.
The administration also wants to almost double the pay of the department's deputy director, Steven Grissom, to more than $237,000 a year.
Gov. Jindal should abandon these ridiculous proposals. If not, lawmakers ought to reject them.
The $245,744 salary Louisiana pays its economic development secretary already tops the 2007 pay earned by economic development heads in all 50 states, according to the Council of State Governments. The 2008 pay of Mr. Moret's counterparts in nearby Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia is $180,000 a year or less -- yet those states have left Louisiana in the dust when it comes to recruiting large industry.
The record of his predecessor is not Mr. Moret's fault, of course. But it proves that having had the nation's best-paid sales-person did not produce the results Louisianians expected. Why would taxpayers want to finance an unnecessary pay raise now?
For his part, Mr. Grissom's current pay is already at or above the salary of several agency heads in the Jindal administration.
Mr. Moret and Mr. Grissom have been on the job only 11 weeks -- hardly enough time to prove their worth.
They both say they took substantial pay cuts to work in government and that they accepted public posts because Gov. Jindal promised them the pay raises. But they knew what the salary was when they took their jobs, and they are already among the nation's best-paid public servants in their industry.
Public service means that more money often can be made in the private sector. If their generous public salaries are not to the satisfaction of Mr. Moret and Mr. Grissom, the state could surely use the attractive pay to lure replacements just as capable.
Evidently, that's what our neighboring states have been getting for much less money.
-- The Times-Picayune
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