Weather Forecast


Wisconsin state employees awarded $14M in bonuses, raises

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — State employees have been awarded nearly $14 million in bonuses and merit raises this year, more than twice what they received last year.

Nearly 6,300 employees, or about one in six state workers, got a bonus this year. Last year, about 1,800 state employees got bonuses totaling about $6 million, WLUK-TV reported.

Some of the bonuses are one-time payments, such as for the six detectives at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who each received bonuses of $6,922, or 11 percent of their salary.

Others are in the form of hourly raises, like the 7 percent raise given to a deputy administrator with the state Department of Health Services.

The figures, provided by the Office of State Employee Relations, are current through Oct. 20.

The Department of Corrections gave out the most bonuses, with 1,313 employees each getting $750. The Department of Health Services handed out the most money — a total of $2.2 million, as the agency awarded $2,500 to each of 905 employees.

DHS spokeswoman Stephanie Smiley said in an email that bonuses are a useful tool to acknowledge the value of top workers.

Gov. Scott Walker agreed, saying the bonuses are all about performance.

"If we've got employees who are doing more with less, who are finding better ways to be good stewards of the taxpayers' dollars and providing better quality service, just like employers all across the state, we should be able to find a way to reward them," Walker said.

The rest of the state's workers are getting a 1 percent raise this year and next year. That's the first general raise for state workers since 2008.

Brown County district attorney David Lasee handed out bonuses ranging from $1,344 to $5,915 to 12 attorneys in his office. He said his assistant prosecutors are underpaid relative to what they could make in the private sector.

When asked what he'd say to people who don't think taxpayers should be paying for government employees to receive bonuses at a time when the economy is still sluggish, Lasee said every employee who's doing a good job deserves to be compensated.

Information from: WLUK-TV,