HB 1153 limits excessive bonuses for state employees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, March 29 

(BISMARCK, N.D.) – Speaking on the House floor today, House Democratic-NPL leader Corey Mock (Grand Forks) urged lawmakers to override Governor Burgum’s veto of HB 1153, a bill limiting excessive bonuses for the governor’s staff and appointees:

“If we allow this veto to stand, and if the governor feels the need to give bonuses in excess of $5,000 per year, we will be doing this at a time when this very legislative body is eliminating approximately 1,400 full-time employees (FTEs) across the state. There’s no pay increases for any public employee, and there’s even a request from Governor Burgum for public employees to pay 5 percent of their health insurance premiums, a change public employees are simply not prepared for.

“So when you look at this, if we do not override this veto, we will have eliminated nearly 8 percent of public employee positions, given no pay raises – and you can even argue there’s a pay decrease – and yet we will be allowing the governor to pay bonuses in excess of $5,000 to his staff and appointees.

“So, Mr. Speaker, we all have to make some sacrifices. This is a difficult budget. But is it fair for the snowplow drivers, the teachers, the public employees, the nurses – who also work tirelessly for the people of North Dakota – to sacrifice their pay and then be treated differently than the governor’s own staff, who receive excessive bonuses?”  

HB 1153 sets limits on the dollar amount the governor is allowed to give his staff in retention bonuses, as well as bonuses he is allowed to offer other political appointees. The bill was a response to bonuses offered by former Governor Dalrymple to his staff, including bonuses between $20,000 and $32,000. Several of the staff in Gov. Dalrymple’s office who received bonuses were also retained by the Burgum administration. 

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