Saturday April 27, 2013

For the many state residents who get small pay raises or none at all, and don’t receive pensions, the fat pay hikes doled out by the executive director of the state pension fund are doubly galling. Once again we have an example of Beacon Hill denizens totally out of touch with and indifferent toward the realities facing the rest of Massachusetts.

Michael Trotsky provided raises averaging 17 percent to 22 to already highly paid staffers of the Pension Reserves Management Board (PRIM), according to a letter to the board, a copy of which was obtained by The Boston Globe. Mr. Trotsky, who earns $295,000 annually, will be eligible for a performance bonus that could raise his pay to as much as $413,000. Remarkably, board member Timothy Vaill defended the pay hikes, which were approved last December, on the grounds that "Many are even below what might have been expected." Evidently, if a board member had expected a 50 percent pay increase and only received a 25 percent hike he or she can rightly be disappointed at being shortchanged by 25 percent.

Steven Grossman, who as state treasurer serves as chairman of the PRIM board, told The Globe he voted against the pay increases because they are "excessive" and "send the wrong message to hard-pressed Massachusetts taxpayers." Mr. Grossman is right on both counts, as Massachusetts residents in the private sector rarely see pay hikes, and if they do, not in the 17 percent range, and have watched pensions evolve into 401ks. Message received, and it is an all-too-familiar one from entitled government bureaucrats.