Key Budget Writer Secures $122K State Job

The Oregon Department of Human Services announced that Sen. Margaret Carter (D-Portland) will become the agency’s new Deputy Director for Human Services Programs on September 1.

Sen. Carter is the Co-Chair of the budget-writing Joint Ways and Means Committee, which recently increased the 2009-11 DHS budget by 29.4% and created 1,115 new positions within the agency.

Today’s Oregonian reports that Carter’s new annual salary will be $121,872. The newspaper reported that the agency didn’t conduct an outside search for the position, and apparently didn’t advertise the position to outside job-seekers. DHS Director Bruce Goldberg told the Oregonian that Sen. Carter had “repeatedly” expressed interest in a DHS job, but conversations didn’t begin “in earnest” until after the 2009 session ended.

Goldberg told The Oregonian that these conversations didn’t influence Carter’s budget or legislative work. The Governor’s Office knew about the hiring. However, unlike the Galizio affair, the Governor’s Office say that they played no role in getting Carter the new state job.

Carter, 73, has served in the Oregon Legislature for 24 years. Because she is likely a Tier One PERS member, her state pension benefits would be based on the gross average of her larger DHS salary than her much smaller legislative salary.

Is Sen. Carter a perfect fit at DHS? Or, is this another example of what some call a “corrupt political machine” that perpetually rewards Democrats in Salem? Discuss.