June 21, 2002 – The governor's confidential assistant has just gotten a pay raise.
Not the one made public in May, when it became known that the governor had increased 27-year-old Horace Tyrone Brooks's salary by 29 percent, from $45,000 to $58,000, in a Notice of Personnel Action dated last Oct. 26.
The one bumping the $58,000 up to $65,000 that Gov. Charles W. Turnbull signed into effect in a NOPA dated June 2.
The second raise, according to the NOPA, means that Brooks is now being paid $31.25 an hour. It puts his salary on a par with that of 14 of the territory's 15 senators. (Whoever serves as the body's president gets $10,000 more.) And it means Brooks is making nearly twice as much as a teacher with a master's degree and five years of service in the territory — who, according to the Education Department, earns $34,205.
Brooks's earlier increase became public knowledge at the same time as the 107 percent increase given by the governor to his chauffeur, Haran Penn, also to $58,000. Penn, a 20-year government worker, previously had been making $28,000.
Brooks, who is listed on the NOPA as being single, was hired as an exempt government employee in 1999 when Turnbull came into office.
At the time those two increases became known, Government House spokeswoman Rina Jacobs McBrowne said that Turnbull has a confidential secretary as well as a confidential assistant, but "she stays at her desk," whereas Brooks accompanies the governor when "he goes to different functions." She said Brooks is "on call 24 hours a day."
The two NOPA's for those increases were dated shortly after most government employees were awarded step increases that had been negotiated years earlier.
On May 28, the day after the increases to Brooks and Penn became known, Turnbull announced raises for his commissioners, other top agency heads and an estimated 1,100 to 1,200 other classified and non-union government employees. He boosted the pay for commissioners to $85,000 from $65,000 and said other top administrators also would be getting $85,000.
As a result of the step increases last fall, the governor said then, 71 classified employees in the Education Department were making more than $65,000, with the highest-paid getting $83,063. He said the idea of supervisors earning less than those they supervise went against "virtually every established management principle."
The governor said then that salaries are based on managerial experience, number of persons supervised by the individual, the length of time the individual has served in good standing, previous salary and the volume and nature of the work.
In November, Turnbull issued an executive order raising the ceiling on salaries to $97,000 for commissioners and other top administrators, $92,000 for assistant commissioners, $87,000 for deputy commissioners and $70,000 for division directors. Efforts by senators at the time to find out who exactly was getting what were unsuccessful.
Senators tried in the Fiscal Year 2002 Omnibus Act to tie their own salaries to that of the highest-paid commissioner. Turnbull vetoed the provision, and the Legislature made no move to override the veto.
On May 31, the Source sent a letter to Government House requesting under the territory's Public Records Act the old and new salaries for all those given raises. There has been no response to the request.
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