State-Funded Knik Bridge Authority
38 percent Pay Raises To Top Executives
September 27, 2006
Recently obtained public records show that a state-created bridge
authority met in secret this summer, and voted to give its top
executives salary increases of up to 38 percent according to
Rep. Les Gara who represents Government Hill in the Legislature.
One official at the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority ("KABATA")
received a $40,000 pay increase.
Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage)
stated, "Public employees with $100,000 jobs don't need
$35,000 raises. Something is wrong with this picture."
Stephanie Kesler, President of the Government Hill Community
Council in Anchorage, called the raises an "affront to the
lower and middle-income Government Hill families whose homes
are in the direct path of KABATA's bulldozers." KABATA
officials have repeatedly ignored community requests that the
Authority help design a bridge access route that does not destroy
homes in the Government Hill neighborhood - Anchorage's oldest.
Kesler believes the raises are "mind boggling" in light
of the Authority's refusal to respect legitimate community concerns,
and are "an example of KABATA's 'let them eat cake' approach."
In a news release, Rep. Les Gara stated KABATA was created by
the Legislature and the Murkowski Administration to help plan
a $600 million to $1.5 billion bridge connecting Anchorage to
Pt. McKenzie. The bridge would not reduce the commute time between
Anchorage and Palmer or Wasilla. KABATA officials recently stated
they might consider starting construction of a tunnel through
the Government Hill community even before plans and funding for
the bridge, still an uncertain project, are finalized.
KABATA and the public have wrangled since KABATA's inception
in 2004. While residents have asked the bridge authority to help
develop an access route from Anchorage to the eventual bridge
through Elmendorf Air Force base that wouldn't damage neighborhood
homes, KABATA has refused to follow through in any substantial
way said Rep. Gara.
According to information provided by Rep. Gara, three top KABATA
officials received raises of roughly 30 percent to 40 percent.
Executive Director Henry Springer's salary increased from $104,496
to $130,000, Deputy Executive Director Darryl Jordan's salary
jumped from $90,324 to $130,000, and Chief Financial Officer
Kevin Hemenway's salary jumped from $90,324 to $129,000.
Four of the seven Board Members are State Commissioners (the
Commissioners of the Departments of Transportation and Revenue)
and legislators. The two legislators do not have voting
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Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage)
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