…Tries to clarify figure on Senators’ salaries
“The figure communicated to the press regarding the salary of Senators by Senator Abe Darius Dillon are totally incorrect, and that is the purpose I want to make this clarification,” Sinoe County Senator J. Milton Teahjay told Legislative reporters on Monday, September 30, 2019.
Senator Teahjay, who spoke to journalists on the grounds of the Capitol Building, said he has done an analysis of a chart that he said contains the income of Senators, “and what Senator Dillion communicated to the public is in error.”
Giving what he described as an example of Dillion’s error, Teahjay observed that his colleague totaled all of the income of a senator as US$15,000. “By that aggregation, Senator Dillon has failed to perfectly read the fiscal chart of the Senate to interpret it; from this chart, the net monthly income of a senator is US$7,994.32; L$29,000, which when converted amounts to US$138 as part of the transportation reform.”
Teahjay then went into frantic attempts to define what is salary and benefits/entitlements, such as house rental fees for lawmakers, which amount, he said goes directly to the owner of the home.
Senator Teahjay named other benefits as transportation reimbursement, which amounts to US$3,175 reportedly as tallying done against vehicles issued every senator, placed there to indicate the value of that vehicle; “over a period of four years, it comes to zero, and you can decide whether to keep the vehicle, that is not an income that you take home as a pay.”
Besides, Teahjay said that the amount of US$2,200 is issued as gasoline, giving a total of 428 gallons a month; “that cannot be seen as an income, it is an entitlement, but Senator Dillon has aggregated everything to say senators are making US$15,325, which is not the case.”
On the question of whether Dillon was misled by the chairman of the Senate committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget, Bomi County Senator Morris Saytumah, who gave the chart to Teahjay, about the correct salary for the new lawmaker, Senator Teahjay agreed that the figure on the chart given to Dillon was correct.
“Saytumah did not mislead anybody, he provided a chart that was columned, but Dillon misread the chart and gave you wrong figures,” Teahjay said.
Earlier on the Senate floor, Teahjay had raised concerns about Senator Dillon’s recent press conference, during which he disclosed the net amount of take home salary for senators.
Senator Teahjay recalled that his colleague, who has been in the Senate for barely two months, articulated in his press conference statistics regarding income of all senators in the Senate.
“We have had the time to review his press conference in terms of the contents, and what he articulated is totally incorrect and does not reflect the reality of the figures that are on our books.”
Teahjay told plenary that he brought the issue before them so that he could be given the opportunity to correct himself, “because the Senate is a body of government composed of Senators and, as employees of the government, the budget is opened.”
But River Cess County Senator Francis Paye’s motion for Teahjay’s comment to be opened for discussion was rejected by Maryland County Senator, J. Gbleh-bo Brown.
Senator Brown correctly recalled” “Never before in our sitting in plenary, that a press conference held outside of this Chambers has been a subject of discussions on our agenda. I believe that the statement Senator Teahjay made that whatever information Senator Dillon may have given to the public in his view is incorrect; this Senate has a way of communicating to the public, the leadership of this plenary can authorize the issuance of a press release to dispel whatever information. But to make this issue as a debate is unacceptable, and I don’t think that is the way to proceed.”