By Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, Hills. 15
At last Thursday night’s dinner meeting with 18 Manchester area state representatives at the Back Room, Millennium “principal” William Wortman asserted that the average salary for the 1000 jobs his group would create at the Rockingham Park racino would be $43,000-$44,000.
Realizing that the vast majority of racino employees are either janitors (someone has to clean the toilets), waitresses (someone has to serve the food and beverages), or cashiers (someone has to cash out all those vouchers), I was totally surprised by the number and asked Mr. Wortman if in fact he had said $43,000-$44,000.
He reiterated the claim.
Rep. (and Alderman-Elect) Pat Long received guarantees that his Ward 3 constituents would be able to apply for the jobs. Rep Long asked if the $43,000-$44,000 included benefits.
Wortman replied that it did not.
I left the meeting doing a few calculations (as I am wont to do). Add in benefits (we use a 50 percent markup for state purposes) and you’re talking more than $60,000 per employee.
This just can’t be, I thought.
So I sought neutral data, and sure enough, it is NOT TRUE.
Legislative research supplied me with data (maybe slightly outdated but not by all that much) that “the average annual salary of a racino employee is less than $14,000.”
Thus, not only was Wortman wrong in the information he provided to state reps. He was off by a factor of three. The number he gave us, in an obvious attempt to make his proposal look better than it is, was three times greater than the truth.
All right, I thought, a few thousand here or there, I can accept that, but this is not acceptable. The reputation of a lobbyist (and certainly the “principal” of Millennium must be considered a super lobbyist) hangs on the accuracy of the data he or she provides. Once a lobbyist loses his reputation, he has lost his good name, his sacred honor.
After listening to everything Wortman said (and eating the stuffed chicken), I was impressed with most of his data and arguments.
He lost it all with the one misstatement about wages.
Just to be sure legislative research was not off; I just checked the Bureau of Labor Statistics data. This is for the gaming industry in general, and since I assume dealers would make more than janitors, waitresses, and cashiers, I assume the numbers for racinos are lower than these.
The median wage in the industry is $10.92 per hour; the mean is $13.39 per hour.
You do the math. Assuming a 40 hour week, that comes out to $22,700 a year for mean or $27,852 for average.
The average salary for a casino SUPERVISOR is $41,160, less than Wortman would have us believe is what the new Rock would be paying the average employee.
As an elected official, I find this discrepancy (whether intentional deception or simply incompetence) beyond astounding! You know what they say, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
Shame on Millennium Principal William Wortman, and I for one, won’t be fooled by him again, no matter how good the food (just kidding; it wasn’t even very good).