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McHenry’s staff pay sparks new criticism

SARAH LOWERY
Staff Writer

 

Denver journalist and congressional candidate Ken Fortenberry has released new complaints against U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, of North Carolina’s 10th District, in relation to his staff payroll.
Fortenberry sent out a press release to area news media earlier this month claiming that McHenry’s payroll “has increased 6 percent in the first nine months of the year versus the same period a year ago.”
He cites data recently released on LegiStorm.com, a website that compiles databases of congressional staff salaries and related financial information.
As a challenger in next year’s Republican primary for McHenry’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, Fortenberry has previously taken issue with his opponent over his use of funds and taxpayer dollars.
The Times-News reported in November that Fortenberry took the initiative in disseminating information regarding bonuses McHenry gifted to his staff in 2010. According to a LegiStorm.com database, bonuses, designated as “other compensation,” ranging from $1,250 to $9,168 were delivered to staff members prior to Christmas of that year.
Following Fortenberry’s allegations last month, McHenry’s office released a statement, to which it also referred the Times-News when pressed for comment, saying that its staff salary budget ranked 10th out of the 13 North Carolina congressional offices.
Additionally, it was stated that the office’s budget had been cut by 11.5 percent in the last two years and that Christmas bonuses are distributed when and if staff cost-cutting measures have resulted in leftover money in the personnel budget.
LegiStorm.com data shows that McHenry’s staff salary expenditures totaled $710,937 in 2006 and $969,225 in 2010.
“Mr. McHenry likes to call himself a conservative, but the record proves otherwise,” Fortenberry stated in his latest release. “He doled out huge taxpayer-funded Christmas bonuses to his staff last year, gets an annual pay increase himself and spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars refurbishing his office this year.”
“Mr. McHenry needs to get a dose of the real world and walk the conservative walk instead of talking a good game,” he concluded..

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