Yes, Record, It’s Sort of Your Fault!

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

finger pointingHave you read the breathlessly-reported news concerning twenty-seven Christie staffers earning significant raises over the past two months, Save Jerseyans?

Lame. I know. And more than a little sensationalized giving everything that’s going on right now.

For starters, I’m always skeptical of these stories because they usually lack context. Back in 2010, the AP embarrassed itself by claiming that Christie had increased staff salaries over Jon Corzine’s administration by $2 million; the actual number was $440,000 which works out to (buried at the bottom of the correction) approximately $4,286 per employee… ($75,726 vs. $71,440).

Oops.

That relatively modest salary uptick (a little less than 6% per staff member) could easily be explained by cost of living adjustments, but the media rushed to judgment in an effort to land an early punch on a newly-minted Republican governor.

What else is new, right?

The reliably liberal Record also never misses an opportunity to tie a negative story about a Republican to some kind of ideological point that’s almost completely unrelated to the instant story line:

“The raises come as Christie is withholding more than $2.4 billion in payments to the state pension fund because of revenue shortfalls. And Christie has delayed a property tax relief program that averages nearly $500 for seniors and some families.”

They’re not alone. NJ.com reported it the same way. Barf.

Where’s the Fourth Estate’s ability to provide perspective? Or have they abandoned the pretense of caring about providing readers with perspective? I hate to be a buzz kill, guys, but how does a few hundred grand (at most) in salary increases for dozens of people compare to the REAL issues – multi-billion dollar issues – driving New Jersey’s fiscal woes? For starters, the Democrat Assembly’s unwillingness to renew an arbitration cap without which we’re looking at BILLIONS of dollars in property tax increases?

It’s also hard to avoid the irony behind the much more interesting process story here: the extent to which Bridgegate (a story for which the Record expected to win a Pulitzer prize) is making it infinitely harder for the Governor to retain staffers than back in January before the story broke and his presidential future seemed brightest.

 

Gov. Christie rallies bi-partisan gaggle in support of arb cap renewal.
Gov. Christie rallies bi-partisan gaggle in support of arb cap renewal.

More than one source close to the Christie Administration has confirmed the significant and pervasive morale problems around the front office and its subsidiary departments due to a continuous stream of subpoenas, departures, constant negative headlines and, perhaps most critically, the loud sucking noise emanating from a leadership vacuum that’s gumming up the day-to-day machinery of the once peerless Christie operation.

Governor Christie is like any other CEO of an embattled business right now… he’s doing whatever he can to keep his remaining core of talent intact. Many of these guys could make serious money working for private companies. They stay with Christie out of loyalty AND in the hopes of riding his star to something grand down the road. As the star fades, the almighty dollar remains as the most persuasive enticement for continued service.

And in a sense, it’s also kind of the Record‘s fault!

I’m not suggesting The Record shouldn’t have investigated Bridgegate, Save Jerseyans. I’m not even saying that a 23% salary increase for top bureaucrats in and around the Administration’s front office isn’t worth an article.

I am saying that it’d be nice to see the mainstream media develop a little more self-awareness (and respect for the whole truth, too). I’d bet the farm that they’d sell more papers by doing a better job reporting news than preoccupying themselves with making it…

 

12 thoughts on “Yes, Record, It’s Sort of Your Fault!

  1. Matt, you cannot explain away 6% raises on the public’s dime when people in the private sector are getting 2% or less. Sorry, not buying it.

  2. @Joe I’ve been consistent on this point; attacking “salaries” per se is often misdirected. That’s not the cost driver, and frankly, if you want good people in government positions, you can’t pay them in nickles. The benefits structure remains the problem. It’s romantic (capital R) to say “people in public service should work for nothing, b/c it’s service” but then you get what you pay for.

  3. Matt, we don’t HAVE good people in gov’t. Raising tolls. Raising taxes. Failing to gut the budget. Fire them all!!!!

  4. @Joe Oversimplification much? These are staff salaries; people who execute. Governor Christie and his advisers are the one making these macro decisions. You can’t be half-supportive of the free market. It’s all or nothing.

  5. Can’t have it both ways. 2% for one, 2% for all. Just goes to show the hypocrisy of all the Govs “shared sacrifice” BS

  6. Star Ledger is leading and pounding away with this ridiculously stupid story. No word on guaranteed raises for unionized government workers.

  7. @ Tom
    I agree with this statement.

    I also think the raises should be 2% but Prieto not wanting to have the 2% cap on the property increases bill on the floor is asinine.
    But not for unionized local workers who will get more than 6% raises if there is no 2% cap anymore.

  8. Ridiculous story ? Really? What’s ridiculous is people actually think Christie is a good leader! Taxes unemployment all up since he came in and only because Bridgette Kelly won’t talk is why he is in office! He is done politically on the national level! Only the rich upper class are benefitting from him! Enjoy the kool aid!!!!!!

  9. But, but, but Christie promised, noooo swore, nooooo promised everyone that he would CUT, CUT, CUT spending. He was such a straight shooter, so tell it like it is, soooo honest, so refreshing, and now its revealed he is giving huge raises to his buddies, when everyone else get 2%,,,,,, turns out that he’s a fraud. He said he would lower property taxes.

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