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Posted at 4:30 PM ET, 05/18/2010

Virginia workers DID get bonuses last year

By Paige Winfield Cunningham

Good news out of Richmond for Virginia state workers: There might, just might, be enough surplus money in the budget to give them 3 percent bonuses.

News stories are brimming over with hope because the legislature hasn't approved a statewide bonus in three years. Additionally, most workers are bringing home the same size paycheck as in 2007.

But the funny thing is, more state workers received bonuses through agency budgets last year than got them 10 years ago. In 2009, 4,262 bonuses were given to 4.6 percent of employees. In 2001, 1,120 bonuses were paid to 1.3 percent of employees. That's according to Virginia's Department of Human Resource Management.

Virginia agencies spent more total money on bonuses as well. Agency heads awarded $612,481 in bonuses in 2001, but $1.6 million in bonuses last year.

So some state workers have received bonuses recently, although they were in a small minority. But how big were their rewards?

Working with tighter budgets, Virginia agencies seem to have used bonuses strategically. A lot of workers got tiny bonuses of $10, $25 or $50 as tokens of appreciation for their work. More than half of the bonuses paid were $100 or less.

A few workers got really big bonuses to prevent them from looking for a more prosperous employer. Only 10 employees were awarded $5,000 or more. Topping the list was Jeffrey Gordon, a physician for the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute, who received a bonus of $10,000, about 5 percent of his $197,887 salary.

As for me, my wallet didn't see any bonus last year. But since I'm a journalist, that goes without saying.

Paige Winfield Cunningham is an investigative reporter and managing editor at Old Dominion Watchdog . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Paige Winfield Cunningham  | May 18, 2010; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Local blog network, economy  
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People really should not be bashing this

The government workers (which I am not in VA) work their butts off for little

These raises are really part of their salary

Posted by: Bious | May 18, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

What is the cost of processing a $10 bonus? Probably $20.

Posted by: jiji1 | May 19, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

What is the cost of processing a $10 bonus? Probably $20.

Posted by: jiji1 | May 19, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

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