Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rep Schroder's HB 1296

You can see from this article that a Louisiana House Committee has advanced legislation on this bill.

Below are details of what has occurred:

Sent: Monday, May 03, 2010 2:32 PM
Subject: Rep Schroder's HB 1296

Below is a letter and reply between Tom Aswell and Rep Schroder concerning Rep Schroder’s HB 1296 which would require taking leave for holiday’s for the next fiscal year. I think you will find it very interesting and I hope you will respond by either calling or emailing Mr. Schroder’s office. The phone number is 985-893-6262 and the email address is

I spoke with Mr. Aswell this morning he sent me this link that his letter which was posted on Dead ( he also told me it was published in the Jena, Ruston and Eunice newspapers, sorry I don’t have the dates.

Appreciate your time and hope that your will forward this to all you know who are State Employees.

From: Tom Aswell
Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2010 10:35 AM
Subject: Schroder

Mr. Schroder responded to me last night. Here is his response (My reply to his email is below in larger, black type):

From: Schroder, Rep. (Chamber Laptop) []
Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 11:53 PM
To: ''
Subject: RE: Rep John M. Schroder, Sr.

You have me confused with someone else!

Thanks for the info.

Now, bear in mind, this email was sent from his House chamber laptop and was tagged Rep. Schroder.

That was about as lame a response as I’ve ever seen from anyone. Here is my reply to his email:

I don’t think so; you’re the only Schroder in the House and you’re the only one authoring those civil service bills. And I notice you sent this from the House Chamber laptop. Gee, who else could it possibly be? Oh, and by the way, I did later learn that you don’t make $145 per diem, but $159, effective last Oct. 1. That’s a 9% increase while you were busy eliminating state employees’ 4% merit increases. And the House doesn’t meet on Fridays, either, so you (and every other legislator) owe the state a $5,883 refund for the 37 days you aren’t going to be in session this year but for which you will be paid.

(This shows the elusiveness of Politicians denying what laws they are trying to introduce)

Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2010 9:15 AM
To: Tom Aswell

If you are the person that wrote this we (my friends and I), think you are just awesome!!!!

This was written by a state worker to Mr. Schroder, were do I sign this guy up to run for office.

Mr. Schroder:

You have my heartfelt sympathy for failing to get that state police job you so desperately wanted a few years ago. But I fail to see why you would wish to exercise your frustrations by pursuing a vendetta against honest, hard-working state civil service employees. After all, it wasn’t us who rejected your application; that was someone who knew you far better than we. I certainly do not understand why you would:

(a) Wish to have the full legislature assume “full authority to provide for pay increases for persons
in state service.” After all, you don’t know bean dip about the quality of my or any other state
employee’s work. How can you possibly be so arrogant as to assume you are more qualified than my
department head to evaluate my job performance?
(b) Wish to punish state civil service employees by forcing them to use annual and sick leave for legal
holidays. State salary levels for classified employees generally range below that of our
counterparts in the private sector. For example, I make less than $60,000 per year while those
who do similar work in the private sector average between $80,000 and $100,000. You and the
other 143 “hard-working public servants” in the legislature make $16,800 per year in salary; an
annual (un-vouchered) expense allowance of $6,000; a free laptop computer for the Capitol and a
free desk top computer and free high speed internet service and up to three telephones for your
district office; $2,000 to $3,000 per month for salaries of legislative aides who, you may recall,
are unclassified employees (oh, and by the way: legislative aides who are already at the $3,000
salary cap receive an automatic 4% raise for each year of service after reaching $3,000); a
supplemental office allowance of up to $1,500 per month; and legislators who are already in a
public retirement system or whose service in the legislature pre-dates 1997 are eligible to
participate in the state retirement system and get this: they retire at 3.5% of their annual salary
for each year served whereas we pampered, spoiled, lazy, and unappreciative state civil service
employees get 2.5% of our annual salary. Hell, I can see why you wish to bring us in line. Each
member of the legislature (excepting House Speaker, Speaker Pro Tem, Senate President, and
President Pro Tem, who get even more), in addition to the salaries, expenses, computers, office
allowance, phone lines, etc. also makes $145 per day in per diem for legislative sessions. Now I
know that you have just started the even-year, 85-day regular session. But what most people do
not know is that you get that $145 per diem even on weekends and holidays when you are not in
session. That comes to 12 Saturdays, 12 Sundays, and Memorial Day. The Senate doesn’t even
meet on Fridays; that’s another 12 days. So here’s what I would propose if you insist on pushing
HB1296: You and every other House and Senate member refund $145 for each day you don’t meet.
That comes to $380,625 for the house ($3,625 per member and $209,235 for the Senate
($5,365 per member), or a combined total of $589,860 that you are overpaid. (Actually there are
many who feel you are overpaid for every day of the 85-day session, but I’m giving you the
benefit of the doubt.) Can you believe we pay 144 legislators more than $1,780,000 to consider
such weighty measures as Saints license plates, registering antique boats, consideration of
whether or not anyone may seek political office after reaching 70 years of age, allowing the sale
of athletic event tickets for more than face value, and other such drivel?
(c) Wish to terminate 4% pay increases for civil service employees while ignoring pay raises of 4.5
to 4.9 percent for state judges. These raises, unlike civil service increases, are statutorily
automatic. While I’m at it, allow me to let you in on a little secret you obviously have not bothered
to research: Those so-called automatic 4% raises for civil services are anything but automatic.
Not everyone gets them. Moreover, once an employee maxes out all his allocated pay increases for
his pay grade, there are no more raises. Period. The employee only resumes qualifying for
increases if he or she is promoted, which may or may not occur. There have been no cost
of living increases for years.
(d) Wish to terminate the State Civil Service Commission and the Department of State Civil Service
(HB753). Civil Service was created as a means of preventing politicians (like yourself) from
intimidating state employees into campaigning for or being forced to contribute to candidates. In
fact, civil service employees are expressly prohibited from participating in political campaigns on
behalf of any candidate. This is another trade-off we accepted when we began our careers as civil
service employees, but it is a good law. If you succeed in abolishing civil service, you will leave
tens of thousands of state employees exposed to intimidation and to a return to the “deduct box”
spoils system mentality where job security depends upon political allegiance. As recently as 1983,
a newly-elected superintendent of education attempted to clean house at the Department of
Education. Only the Civil Service Department protected those employees whom the new
superintendent wanted to replace with his own hand-picked political allies.

Don’t try to invoke the cost savings argument; in my office, when an employee making approximately $27 per hour (or less) leaves, we are unable to fill his or her position. The only recourse is for our office to retain contract workers to perform their jobs—at $50 per hour. Saving money? I think not. We were forced to sell off our fleet of vehicles that are needed for several of our employees on a daily basis. If they take their own vehicles, they are paid a maximum of $99, no matter the distance traveled. Again, the only recourse is to lease a vehicle from Enterprise
Car Rental at $35 per day. At 20 days per month, that’s $700 per month. The last time I leased a vehicle, my lease payments were $325 per month.

By now, you have obviously (or maybe not; I think you may be a few croutons short of a salad) figured out that I am a state civil service employee. But if you think you can threaten me with my job, think again; I am preparing to retire and I really don’t care if it’s today, next week, or next month. I am a firm believer in representative government but I abhor political rhetoric and grandstanding—especially from someone taking his marching orders from Booby Jihad or anyone else.

If civil service is abolished as you—excuse me, as the governor—wishes it to be, some 60,000 civil service employees and their families will be free to campaign and to make political contributions on behalf of political candidates. I’m reasonably certain many of them will remember the legislators who tried to put them into the unemployment lines. People do, after all, vote with their wallets. By the time the next election rolls around, I will be long retired, so you may rest assured I will personally campaign for your opponent in return for the way you have wantonly painted every public employee with the same broad brush and to heartlessly ignore the effect your actions will have on thousands of dedicated, if disgruntled (you expect us to be gruntled?) employees and their families.

All because you didn’t get your state police job. How pitiful, petty, and childish.

Tom Aswell
107 North College West
Denham Springs, Louisiana 70726

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