MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says he’s overjoyed to offer his best employees merit bonuses and raises.
Gov. Scott Walker created a program last year allowing state agency managers to reward workers for stellar performances. An Associated Press analysis of state payroll records obtained through an open records request shows nine state agencies have handed out more than $750,000 in merit pay since the program became effective on Jan. 1.
Van Hollen’s Justice Department was the biggest spender, dispensing nearly $300,000 to assistant attorney generals, special agents, office staff and DNA analysts.
Union leaders have criticized the system, questioning how agencies can afford merit pay in such tight budget times. But Van Hollen says he’s a firm believer that not all people deserve the same pay.