Nearly $1M in spot bonuses awarded to Indiana workers

INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Mike Pence’s administration has doled out nearly $1 million in spot bonuses, Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney has learned.

According to records obtained by Kenney, more than 3,000 state workers received the bonuses, ranging from $50 to $2,000 each.

The total spent on spot bonuses under Pence to date is $935,195.31.

The spot bonus program was established under Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2006, but numbers were not available to RTV6 as to what was spent under the Daniels administration on spot bonuses.

“Agency heads have the discretion to award an on-the-spot bonus any time they see fit,” said Ashley Hungate, spokeswoman for the state personnel department, in an email to Kenney. “The awards typically range from $100 to $1,000. Not all agencies take advantage of this, but many do. “

Agencies who gave out spot bonuses include the Department of Administration, Department of Corrections, Department of Child Services and the Department of Transportation.

Hungate said under Daniels, the spot bonus program continued even during the years where pay for performance increases were not given to continue to award those employees who performed an extraordinary task. 

“Many of these tasks have a money saving impact,” Hungate said.

Kenney asked Gov. Pence’s office to comment on the spot bonus program in light of Pence’s recent announcement to make budget cuts and reduce a $141 million shortfall.

The office directed Kenney to Hungate.

“Under the leadership of Gov. Pence, we have continued the program,” Hungate wrote in an email to RTV6. “We appreciate the dedication of our many employees around the state and support a program that provides additional recognition to state employees who go above and beyond in their service to Hoosiers.”

The spot bonuses are different than the one-time performance bonuses announced for state employees on December 20, 2013.

The one-time bonuses are based on performance evaluations, which were completed in January.

"Employees who meet expectations will receive a $500 bonus, those who exceed expectations will receive $750 and those rated outstanding will receive $1,000,” read a news release about the performance bonuses.

“While our present circumstances do not permit us to increase base pay, because your service to Indiana has been exemplary, I have authorized a bonus that you will receive once performance evaluations are completed in January,” read an end of 2013 letter from Gov. Pence to state employees.

The 2014 performance bonuses haven’t been finalized yet, Hungate said.

More resources: See the list of employees who received spot bonuses  | Read the email sent to state employees from Gov. Pence

Follow Kara Kenney on Twitter: @karakenney6 | Facebook: KaraKenneyNews

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