CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last week's item about how House Speaker Rick Thompson will be able to bump his state pension up about 168 percent, to $34,200 a year, if he stays in his new appointment as secretary of the Departments of Veterans' Assistance for three years, prompted a little game at the statehouse: Name all the former legislators who now have state jobs.
I came up with 11, although two are contract employees in the governor's office:
Bob Tabb, deputy Agriculture commissioner ($78,000), Jefferson County delegate 2003-09.
Keith Burdette Commerce secretary ($95,000), Wood County delegate 1979-83, senator 1983-1995, former Senate president.
Ed Bowman, governor's office regional representative ($40,900), Hancock County senator 1995-2011, former Government Organization chairman.
Virginia Mahan, Health and Human Resources deputy secretary ($48,000), Summers County delegate 1997-2013.
Rick Staton, Military Affairs and Public Safety deputy secretary ($90,000), Wyoming County delegate 1989-2007, former majority leader.
Jon Amores, Racing Commission executive director ($83,500), Kanawha County delegate 1995-2007, former Judiciary chairman.
Joe DeLong, Regional Jail Authority executive director ($79,000), Hancock County delegate 2001-09, former majority leader.
Jack Roop, treasurer's office deputy treasurer for Local Government Services ($80,220), Raleigh County delegate 1983-1993.
Billy Wayne Bailey, Veterans' Assistance deputy secretary ($65,300), Wyoming County senator 1991-2009.
The contract employees, who work as legislative liaisons for the governor's office during legislative sessions, are Chuck Felton, Preston County senator 1987-93, and Martha Walker, Kanawha County senator 1993-2001 and former Health and Human Resources chairwoman.
For the past session, Felton was paid $15,600; Walker, $11,700.
Technically, I guess you could also count Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ($150,000), Logan County delegate 1975-80, senator 1981-2011, former Finance chairman and Senate president; and Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick ($95,000), Pocahontas County delegate 1989, senator, 1989-2012, former Finance chairman.
While they also will enjoy much-enhanced state pensions, at least they had to get the approval of voters to do so.
As noted here before, the shorthand version to calculate a state pension is years of service times 2 percent times salary at retirement. (Actually, it's the average of the highest three of the final 10 years, which is why ex-legislators appointed to state jobs need to hold them for at least three years.)