(Host) Progressive Anthony Pollina is attacking incumbent Governor Jim Douglas for cutting the state workforce while at the same time rewarding top officials with bonuses.
Pollina says Vermont lost construction and manufacturing jobs last year. And he blamed Douglas – who once ran on a platform of "Jim Equals Job" – for eliminating 150 positions in state government.
(Pollina) “What we see right now is the Douglas administration responding to lost jobs and responding to a downturn in the economy by eliminating state jobs, and by giving merit bonuses to administration officials, and by keeping on more than a dozen taxpayer-funded public relations positions.”
(Host) Pollina singled out several administration officials who received the bonuses in 2007. Jason Gibbs, the governor’s spokesman, got two bonuses last year, totaling about ten-thousand dollars. Gibbs reacted strongly to Pollina’s criticism, and took some political shots of his own.
(Gibbs) “I don’t have wealthy friends who can bail out failed business ventures. I’m just a hardworking kid from Vermont who’s going to do everything he can to make life more affordable and prosperous for his fellow Vermonters. And I’m honored, frankly, that Governor Douglas recognized how hard I work and offered me this merit increase.”
(Host) Gibbs says the merit pay increases occurred in the last fiscal year, before this year’s job cuts, and before the administration ordered a salary freeze for people making over $60,000.