Governor Burgum Vetoes Bill That Limits Excessive Bonuses in Governor’s Office

Governor Doug Burgum has decided to finally show there are some areas he disagrees with the Legislature. Today, Burgum sent the Speaker of the House, Rep. Larry Bellew, a letter declaring he has vetoed HB 1153The bill would have limited the dollar amount of bonuses the Governor is allowed to give his staff or members he has appointed elsewhere.

The bill, sponsored by all Republican members, came as a response to former Governor Jack Dalrymple’s excessive bonuses which equaled approximately $100,000 to “retain” employees. Turns out, many of those members who Dalrymple paid between $20,000 and $32,000 in bonuses to “retain” would later be appointed by Burgum to keep their job. I wrote about that in December.

READ: RETENTION BONUSES AND CABINET APPOINTMENTS

People have begun to ask where Burgum has been during this session. He campaigned on breaking up the good old boys network and reinventing government. Burgum has yet to lay out a plan to accomplish either. During the GOP Gubernatorial primary, both Wayne Stenehjem and Doug Burgum said they probably would not have given out the Dalrymple bonuses during a time when the rest of the state budget was starting to slide.

State employees across the state should feel slighted. While Governor Burgum is pleading to get the legislature to make plow drivers pay 5% of their health insurance premiums, he is demanding the ability to give political appointees $31,960 like Chief of Staff Ron Rauschenberger received from Dalrymple. While Governor Burgum is requesting a halt in a pay increase for corrections officers, he is reserving the power to give political appointees $30,518 like the Director of the Office of Management and Budget Pam Sharp received from Dalrymple. Both were asked to stay on for Burgum’s administration.

It will be interesting to see the Legislature’s approach to this veto. Will they attempt to overturn the veto since large majorities in both chambers supported the limitations? We will see.