The budget for the office of Gov. Butch Otter is more transparent than ever, according to Department of Financial Management Administrator Wayne Hammon. “I believe the governor’s budget now is more fair, open, and honest than it’s ever been,” he told lawmakers on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) on Wednesday.
The governor’s office budget makes up close to $2 million of the state budget, which is less than 1 percent of general fund spending. Otter’s office has taken part in the holdbacks he’s ordered, taking furloughs, trimming travel and other expenses, and eliminating pay for its interns. “Gov. Otter has made a concerted effort to reduce operating expenditures,” Hammon said. He also said the governor has worked to show the true cost of the office by listing all the employees who work under him in his office. Currently, that includes a chief of staff and deputy chief of staff, eight constituent services staff, five office staff, two communications staff, and two field staff in north Idaho and east Idaho.
Ketchum Democratic Rep. Wendy Jaquet questioned Hammon on why the governor’s office and some other executive offices have chiefs of staff. She wanted a detailed summary of how their job descriptions differ from other top staff. She said it could potentially be a way for those employees to get a raise. “It’s probably a way to reclassify someone to give them more salary,” she said. “I don’t know though. I need to look at the job description.”
Hammon said he will present those job descriptions to Jaquet and JFAC on Friday.