"MADISON (WKOW) — The office of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told 27 News Monday morning the office has yet to review the process by which members of Governor Walker’s personal security detail, 10 state troopers, received a $4/hour raise last week.
27 News Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann broke the news about the raise last week, noting more than 300 unionized state troopers are still waiting on raises their union negotiated last year.
Stay tuned to 27 News and wkow.com for updates on this 27 News investigation.
MADISON (WKOW) — As more than 300 unionized state troopers wait for their first pay raise in six years, ten Wisconsin State Patrol supervisors got a $4 per hour raise this week and they all have one thing in common – they serve on Governor Scott Walker’s (R-Wisconsin) personal security detail
Those officers make up what is called the Dignitary Protection Unit (DPU).
The DPU’s main job is to provide security for Gov. Walker – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – no matter where he goes. That includes trips like the one the Governor made this week to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in suburban Washington, D.C.
The State Patrol is a division of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT), which put the raise into effect on February 22.
Over the course of a calendar year the raise will cost DOT an extra $83,200. DOT officials estimate they are facing a budget shortfall of $680 million heading into the 2015-17 biennium.
The raise also comes on the heels of legislative leaders announcing they would not approve an average 17 percent raise for the 300-plus state troopers who are represented by the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association (WLEA).
"At a time with such fiscal difficulties in the State of Wisconsin, I just can’t support a raise that big," Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told 27 News on February 17.
That raise for WLEA members was agreed to by the Walker administration in 2013, but needs final approval from the Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JCOER). Speaker Vos chairs that committee.
Those unionized troopers, most of whom earn under $50,000 per year, haven’t gotten a raise since 2009.
The ten members of the DPU all have the rank of sergeant or higher and earn an average of more than $70,000 per year.
The raise for DPU members also comes just two weeks after Governor Walker announced a freeze on all merit pay raises for state employees.
"The decision was made by the Department of Transportation. I will refer your question on the raises, as well as staffing, to DOT," Gov. Walker Spokesperson Laurel Patrick told 27 News Friday.
DOT spokesperson Peg Schmitt told 27 News the DPU raise was awarded through a special supplemental pay provision called a "pilot add-on."
But according the state compensation plan developed by the Office of State Employment Relations (OSER), a "pilot add-on" raise cannot be approved by DOT.
"The OSER Director shall have the sole discretion to create pilot add-ons for specific classifications," reads the OSER state compensation plan.
Greg Gracz, the OSER Director, was appointed by Gov. Walker."