Seems someone in Idaho State government has a new concept when it comes to “exemptions.” This memo was circulated at the Idaho Tax commission explaining why the tax commishes don’t share the furlough pain with the rest of the staff:
Good afternoon everyone.
This is a difficult and important message from us to all of you. In the interest of full disclosure and open communication between the commissioners and employees, we want to make you aware of a situation. Since the inception of required furlough hours taken by Tax Commission employees, the commissioners have willingly participated and also taken the appropriate furlough hours. The commissioners have now been told that by doing so, we are violating state law. Therefore, we must comply with the law. We regret having to do this, but it is simply out of our hands. We ask for your understanding and thank you for your continued hard work.
Royce, Sam, Tom, David
WEDNESDAY P.M. UPDATE — We got this explanation from the State Controller’s office:
This letter between the Controller and the AG is privileged at this point. We did get a verbal opinion. The letter is asking for a formal opinion. Here are some key excerpts…..
….. the current economy and pressures on the state budget have managers, such as the Tax Commissioners, looking for innovative ways to save personnel costs and participate in holdbacks along with their agency employees. However, it is the Controller’s position that the code(s) which pertain to salaries set by statute do not allow for situational interpretation.
Based on a previous Attorney General opinion (December 23, 2008) regarding pay limitations for other annual salaried employees (elected officials), whose salaries are set by state statute, it is our office’s understanding that Idaho Code, Section 63-102(1) is also not flexible for those commissioners whose salaries are set by state statute……. Therefore, our office is seeking your formal opinion on the following questions…….?
It was also noted commishes and all others, whose salaries are set by code, can always donate back to the General Fund any amount they choose after they are paid. Ironically, in a classic “don’t ask, don’t tell” scenario, the Controller was unaware the Tax Commishes were actually taking furlough and sharing the economic pain prior to the inquiry.
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