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Some 4th Circuit State Attorney employees got raises, gave to Angela Corey campaign


JACKSONVILE – As we reported last month, $354,000 of salary increases and bonuses were given out by State Attorney Angela Corey to employees recently.

The justification laid out by Corey’s office was pretty linear: it was the culmination of a routine process.

“The retention raises fit squarely within the Legislature’s intent of how this salary money is to be used. As we have done in prior years, we wait until the end of the fiscal year in order to have an idea of how much money will be available for retention raises. We have been planning for and working towards a retention raise since January 2016 … The final amounts were given to our business office on May 4, 2016,” asserted Corey’s office.

However, as this is the political season, it’s hard not to notice overlap between valued employees and political contributions.

As we reported previously, 80 contributions made to Corey’s campaign account totaling $27,600 were made by assistant state attorneys or people listed with the office since the beginning of Corey’s re-election campaign. Many of these have been maximum contributions.

An important note: not all employees who got raises in the last six months contributed. And not all contributors got raises during the six month period for which we requested records, which were provided in a timely fashion by the State Attorney’s Office.

But there are meaningful examples of recent overlap between campaign contributions and pay bumps.

Here are some examples. Rachel Algee, an assistant state attorney, gave $100 to the Corey campaign. Algee got a raise amounting to $166 a month. Communications Director Jackelyn Barnard got an $83.33 increase monthly. She gave $1,000 to the Corey campaign.

Same with Brian Barnhart. The law enforcement officer gave $1,000 and got an $83.33 monthly increase. As with Assistant State Attorney Andrew Kantor.

Same with Jacquelyn Bevel – $1,000 into the campaign, $83.33 extra salary a month for the office manager.

Assistant State Attorney Stephen Bledsoe has donated $800 so far, and got a $166.67 salary bump. Assistant State Attorney Chris Bracken got the same salary raise as Bledsoe, and thus far has put $250 into the campaign.

ASAs Brian and Kristen Brady –: getting an extra $725 a month between them, and both have maxed out. Assistant State Attorney Cyrus Zomorodian and his wife both maxed out also; he will get an extra $83.33 a month.

An extra $166.66 a month for Mark Caliel. The ASA and his wife both maxed out at $1,000 each; those numbers balance.

ASA Coreylynn Crawford gave $250, and got an extra $166.67 a month. ASA Sean Daly maxed out, and got an extra $166.67 a month.

Between a salary bump and a promotion, Ian Dankelman got an extra $333.33 a month; he donated $300.

Assistant State Attorney Patricia Dodson maxed out, and will make an extra $166.67 a month. Assistant State Attorney Matthew Polimeni maxed out and will make an extra $416.66 a month.

Investigators Alexandra Ellias, Robert Hinson, Christi Petrie and Kerry Gilbreath got an extra $83.33 a month, and maxed out. And investigator James Eminisor got an extra $83.34 a month, and donated $500. Assistant State Attorney Aaron Feuer got $750 extra a month, and gave $250.

Prosecution support specialist Sarah Forbess is getting an extra $62.50 a month; she and her family gave, in total, $1,600.

Assistant State Attorney Chase Harris got an extra $333.33 a month, $500 contributed.

There are very good reasons to donate money to your boss. You could believe in the mission, or the person. You could be appreciative for the position.

But two former assistant state attorneys, running against Corey in the closed GOP primary, said they felt differently last month.

“After making campaign contributions to Ms. Corey, her employees are getting a cash infusion from state coffers – the latest version of the Dixie two-step,” claimed Corey’s opponent, Wes White.

Melissa Nelson, Corey’s other opponent, said, “This move is so disrespectful of the hard work of taxpayers. I know well being a prosecutor is a tough job, but retaining talent is done by demonstrating to your team that you approach the job as a call to service and devotion to the ideals of our Constitution. It’s not about getting rich on taxpayer dollars.”

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