Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed a widely supported bill designed to limit a governor’s ability to pay state employees beyond a structured scale as well as hire certain people for temporary assignments.

Under House Bill 48, Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, said she has wanted more transparency from the executive branch on hires and salaries since the Walker administration, so the bill was not aimed at Dunleavy, but rather the executive branch.

“It would have been a way to make government more transparent, and also cap spending, and the governor decided that that was not something he wanted to do,” Wilson said.

Wilson said she thinks the governor didn’t completely understand the bill’s intent.

“He believed that it somehow took away some of his ways to be able to hire specialized people when in fact it does not,” Wilson said. “You can be an exempt employee and if you want to pay people more, you just have to testify [on] it. Right now you don’t and that’s what the bill was trying to solve.”

Dunleavy, in a prepared statement, said he supported parts of the bill, but was concerned about a section that removes a “valuable tool that the executive branch may utilize in unique cases.”

“On one hand, the bill fixed a significant problem,” Dunleavy said in a prepared statement. “On the other hand, it eliminated a tool that is used to address the State’s ability to recruit and retain employees of the highest level of qualifications and experience. As I am not able to partially veto a bill, I have committed to working with Rep. Wilson in the future to address the use or creation of temporary or special positions.”

The bill cleared the House 37-1 and the Senate 19-0. That’s more than enough support for a veto override if it remains in place.

A vote would have to be taken within five days of the next session.

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