Yesterday the Tennessean put out a scathing report of the skyrocketing cost of running the Tennessee State House under Speaker Glen Casada, who fancies himself a “fiscal conservative” but clearly does not walk the walk.
From the Tennessean:
“Since House Speaker Glen Casada became the chamber’s leader, the size and cost of running the Tennessee General Assembly is increasing, forcing the lower chamber’s leader to ask the governor for an additional $7 million.”
The report from Joel Ebert points to staff fees like the $130,000 raise (!) he gave his Chief of Staff Cade Cothren, an outrageous number by any stretch of the imagination.
Cothren now makes just shy of $200,000 to run the Speaker’s office. As a reminder, the legislature is in session for approximately one-third of the year each year.
From Ebert’s report:
“Cothren earns $199,800 a year. Last year, when Casada was the House majority leader, Cothren made $68,400 as an executive assistant and policy researcher… 31-year-old Cothren is the third-highest paid legislative employee, behind Senate Clerk Russell Humphrey and Rick Nicholson, McNally’s chief of staff… Cothren has worked for state government since 2013. Nicholson and Humphrey first started working for the state in 1995 and 1998, respectively… Cothren makes more money than Lee’s chief of staff and all but three commissioners in the governor’s 23-member Cabinet… And his salary is significantly higher than the last three House chiefs of staff.”
(Cothren was last seen lying to the face of a protester of the bust of the first KKK Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest about misspelled emails.)
Regarding the office of the Speaker, the article goes on:
“It costs more than $5.1 million to pay for the salaries of employees in those offices, the analysis found. At this time last year, salaries for those same House offices cost taxpayers about $3.8 million.
If you have an issue with this, holler at Casada HERE.
In the meantime, here are some reactions from Tennesseans from both parties across the state… Despite Majority Leader William Lamberth playing the good soldier and calling the increased size and cost of operations in the House “extremely conservative” (apparently forgetting what words mean) the reaction to the article on both sides of the aisle has been one of shock and disgust:
Rep. Mike Stewart, the House Democratic caucus chairman, had this to say:
“It sounds like fiscal conservatism means about as much with Tennessee Republicans as it does with the Republicans up in Washington.”
Madison County Commissioner, District 9 – Republican Jay Bush:
There’s nothing conservative about this. One Casada staffer got a $131,000 taxpayer funded pay raise. This kid is making more than a U.S. Congressman, a Tennessee Supreme Court Justice and all but three members of Governor Lee’s Cabinet for what ought to be a part time job. https://t.co/Gb5Hf9zkpw
— Jay Bush (@tn_bush) March 7, 2019
Democratic State Senator Jeff Yarbro:
This. Is. Disgusting. https://t.co/4lz1sOtTMc
— Jeff Yarbro (@yarbro) March 7, 2019
Democratic State Rep. Gloria Johnson (who says she still hasn’t received a $3 key to her office!):
But Ed Committee said we could not afford to serve school lunches to those who can’t pay. Yet we got a $7 million increase for legislative staff salaries. #NotMyValues
— Gloria Johnson (@VoteGloriaJ) March 7, 2019
Longtime political operative Holly Mccall (who contributes to the Holler):
— Holly McCall (@jhollymc) March 7, 2019
Williamson County Tweeter @StormResist:
Republicans used to be the party of small government.
Now they are the party of big payoffs.
I wonder if Casada will explain this $1.3 million increase into GOP personal bank accounts?
— Storm ? (@StormResist) March 6, 2019
Former State House Candidate Allan Creasy:
Who else is exhausted of “Fiscally Conservative” Republicans wasting our State Tax Dollars??♂️ https://t.co/Tm56UeDPIz
— Allan Creasy (@ServeThe901) March 6, 2019
From John Harris, who manages Tennessee Firearms Association, Inc.:
Cade Cothren must be spectacular. Tell us more! https://t.co/kWvlO8gX03
— Susan B. Steen (@suezquesteen) March 7, 2019