JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Eric Greitens released a scathing indictment of the Senate for their seven-hour long debate over a concurrent resolution Monday night to reject a pay raise for elected officials. In particular, he called out Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, and Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial for their ‘no’ votes on the rejecting the raise.
While the HCR passed 25-2, the debate lasted well into the evening as some senators recused themselves from voting on a pay raise, conflicted on the subject of voting on their own pay.
The independent Citizens’ Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials recommended the pay increase last December and the 2 percent increase for lawmakers in FY 2018 and FY 2019 would have amounted to just under $1 million for those two years. It was an estimated increase of around $500 for each legislator each year.
But the big story of the night was the personal meetings Greitens had with Hoskins and Wieland in Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard’s office. Democratic Senators Jason Holsman and Maria Chappelle-Nadal decried the meetings, saying the governor’s tactics were “insulting” and “intimidating.”
In Greitens’ Facebook post this afternoon, he expanded on his perspective of the situation, calling the debate in its entirety, “a pathetic display.”
“Seven hours of taxpayer time could have been spent doing just about anything,” he wrote. “Maybe they could have talked about how to grow jobs in our state, increase wages, improve our schools, or clean up our streets. Nope. Instead, they talked about the reasons why they deserved more money.”
Sens. Bob Dixon and Bob Onder held the floor for a good portion of the evening to discuss the resolution, while negotiations were ongoing.
While Greitens praised the legislators who spoke in favor of the resolution, he had particularly strong words for Hoskins and Wieland.
“They complained that it wasn’t my place to interfere on behalf of Missourians, and that I was a bit too rough with them,” Greitens wrote. “Others asked me to apologize and show respect. Will I apologize that we saved taxpayer’s money last night? No. Many of our public servants in our capitol earned my respect last night as they fought to kill this raise. Others did not.”
Hoskins declined to speak on the governor’s post or his discussions in Richards’ office, but he did explain why he voted no on the resolution.
“I voted against the salary commission’s recommendation the last four times that they recommended a pay raise for state legislators, the last one being two years ago which was a 12 percent raise,” Hoskins said. “At some point, in order to attract the top possible candidates to run for office and to make sure you don’t just have the individually wealthy or all retirees running for state senate or state representative, you have to give a raise.”
Wieland did not respond to calls for comment as of press time, but his comments will be added should he respond.