Governor McAuliffe defends decision to give ex-politicians state jobs with six-figure salaries

Posted at 5:38 PM, Jul 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-08 19:42:25-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- In recent weeks three Virginia politicians have resigned from the Virginia General Assembly, only to be appointed to other state government jobs. Those jobs pay six-figure salaries.

State Senator Henry Marsh (D - Richmond), State Delegate Bob Brink (D - Arlington) and State Delegate Algie Howell (D-Norfolk) all made around $20,000 a year during their time as lawmakers in the General Assembly.

Now each will make more than $100,000 a year with new state government jobs after they were appointed by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

  • Marsh will make $122,000 at the ABC Board.
  • Howell will make $112,455 at the Parole Board.
  • Brink will make $110,000 as Deputy Commissioner  at the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services.

The new jobs, with higher salaries,  mean the ex-lawmakers will receive higher retirement benefits from the state.

Since none of the former lawmakers responded to our interview request, we questioned Governor McAuliffe about the ethics of the situation.

"For the average person on the street it looks a little unethical governor," CBS 6 political reporter Joe St. George asked.

"Well listen you want experience in state government," Governor McAuliffe responded defending his decisions.

"Did they speak to you about the job or did you speak to them?" St. George asked.

"They may have talked to folks in my administration - it doesn't mater who talked to who, you want the best people in state government," McAuliffe said.

According to state retirement rules, if an employee puts in 30 years of service they are eligible to receive half of their highest three-year average salary in addition to money saved.

"They get this sweet pension perk," Paul Goldman, a political watchdog, told CBS 6.

In Marsh's case, half of $122,000 is $61,000.

"When people see this, of course, people are going to lose faith in everything," Goldman said.

The ABC Board sent CBS 6 a statement regarding the job responsibilities Marsh now has:

"ABC Board members are appointed by the Governor, serve as administrative law judges for appeal hearings and are full-time state employees. The Board typically meets twice each month, once with the executive staff and another with all divisional directors. In addition, twice each month the ABC Board hears Appeals to initial decisions issued by ABC hearings officers."