Mark D. Obenshain Slams VDOT
The press release
Obenshain Questions VDOT Bonuses
Calls Half Million in Bonuses and Raises
Another Case of Misplaced Priorities
HARRISONBURG—Today, Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) questioned the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)'s decision to provide over half a million dollars in raises and one-time bonuses in 2008.
“Like most Virginians, I was troubled to learn that, in a time of economic distress, the Virginia Department of Transportation paid out over $200,000 in one-time bonuses and a further $300,000 in pay raises,” said Obenshain. “To offer these bonuses and raises while the Department is curtailing essential services and laying off employees is foolish and counterproductive.”
Averaging over $4,100 for each recipient of a raise, $585 per one-time bonus, and $4,400 apiece on fourteen signing bonuses for new workers during a round of layoffs, only seven of the agency's 357 bonuses were awarded to those taking on new responsibilities or acquiring new training. “If we are so desperate as to ask many Virginians to forego having their roads cleared in winter, is it too much to ask that VDOT employees who are not taking on additional responsibilities forego a bonus this year?” asked Obenshain.
“With dramatic cuts to road maintenance and the closure of rest areas looming, fiscal responsibility is not just a good idea – it is absolutely essential,” said Obenshain. “VDOT should focus its resources on ensuring the upkeep of roads across the Commonwealth, not handing out bonuses.”
“I am grateful to my colleague, Sen. Ryan McDougle, for uncovering these payments,” said Obenshain. Senator McDougle (R-Hanover) first identified the bonuses, calling the policy irresponsible during a sustained climate of economic decline.
Obenshain has been at the forefront of the effort to ensure that VDOT's most vital priorities, especially those directly pertaining to safety, do not suffer while wasteful or unnecessary spending remains in the Department's budget. Renewing his call for an outside audit of VDOT, Obenshain recently launched www.vdotwaste.com, a website permitting Virginians to take a stand for fiscal responsibility and to report wasteful spending they have witnessed.
Senator Obenshain represents the twenty-sixth district in the Virginia Senate. The district includes the city of Harrisonburg and the counties of Warren, Shenandoah, Page, Rappahannock and Rockingham (part).
Thunderous Applause! A shovel handle broke one time and the man propped on it fell and knocked over the 10 other VDOTERS watching.....