Kudos to the Seattle Times (yes, I really typed that) for truth needling Rob McKenna's bullshit claim that his Attorney General's office has cut staff more than most other state agencies. "Mostly false," the paper rightly concludes.
But it is more than that. The methodology McKenna chooses to use is intentionally misleading, another example of the McKenna Math™ he's been outrageously spewing throughout this campaign.
McKenna's office used FTEs (full-time equivalents) to calculate staffing levels at other state agencies—the standard comparative metric used by governments and other large organizations to track staffing—but relied on a mostly meaningless year-over-year headcount to calculate an inflated two-year drop in staffing in the AG's office. That's an apples to oranges comparison.
Guthrie acknowledged that the numbers his office used equate two different measures.
And yet they used those numbers anyway. Intentionally misleading. And even more so than the Seattle Times realizes. For the rate of staffing cuts at the AG's office compared to other state agencies over the past couple years appears exaggerated by the fact that inflated staffing levels gave McKenna's office further to fall. As I reported last year, according to data obtained from the AG's office, the number of FTEs in McKenna's office grew from 1,274.9 in 2005 at the time McKenna took over, to 1,316.8 in fiscal year 2010. That's an increase of 3.3 percent. But during that same period, total state General Fund FTEs actually shrank from 41,970 to 40,389, a reduction of 3.8 percent.
That's right, up until an election year show of austerity, McKenna actually lagged behind other agency heads in implementing painful staffing cuts! And in 2009, at the height of the Great Recession, McKenna's office handed out more in bonuses—almost $600,000 worth—than any other state office.
So much for McKenna's claims of fiscal conservatism.