Posted: Aug. 4, 2015


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

The Democrats have their donkey. The Republicans have their elephant. Then there is the animal that all of politics can relate to.

The cash cow.

Mike Barbieri is the latest here to milk it. As of Friday, it was good-bye to a paycheck of $44,000 a year as a Democratic state representative and hello to new one at $144,000 a year as a division director with the state Health & Social Services Department.

There will be a special election, still to be scheduled for sometime next month, to replace him.

Not that Barbieri is alone in finding gold in that thar Delaware General Assembly. It is part of life in a legislature where the unofficial slogan is, where's mine?

Some of them were even qualified for the jobs they took. So! A Top Ten for cashing in.

Legislators Party What They Were What They Got What Happened
Mike Barbieri D representative Health & Social Services Department division director It was like Monopoly money. Barbieri passed "Go" from the legislative to the executive branch and collected $100K
Joe Booth R senator Sussex Tech staffer Booth waited until he was safely through a primary to let on he would be double dipping. It is not nice to fool the voters. In his next primary, they made him an ex-legislator
Richard Cordrey & Tom Sharp D Ex-presidents pro tem Cabinet secretaries for Finance & Labor Cordrey & Sharp were out of office when Governor Minner came calling. Nobody gets to be pro tem without mastering the Senate, and never mind the uproar, they got confirmed
Tony DeLuca D President pro tem Labor Department administrator What with the double dipping, the retaliating against senators opposing him for pro tem, and the office remodeling with a fancy new door, the voters showed DeLuca the door
Lonnie George D House minority leader & ex-speaker Delaware Tech president As the governor cracked at the Gridiron political roast, "None of us should be surprised this is a tough budget year, after all, Lonnie George just started collecting his pension."
Nicole Poore D senator Jobs for Delaware Graduates president It is Dover's unholy trinity, coming together again -- a legislator, a non-profit agency and a big fat grant-in-aid
Wayne Smith R House majority leader Delaware Healthcare Association president The voters were not amused when Smith quit mid-term to run a trade association and lobby, even less so when his next-door neighbor was the Republican candidate to replace him. They elected the Democrat
John Viola & Helene Keeley D House majority whip & representative Labor Department staffers Talk about survivors. They get re-elected, no matter the double dipping, not to mention relatives with state paychecks -- Viola's daughter Andria Bennett as a representative and Keeley's husband Mike Green in the treasurer's office
Nancy Wagner R representative Delaware State University staff A classic. Add a second public paycheck for Wagner to still another for her husband Bud as a state "video specialist" and watch the voters subtract one legislator at the next election
Becky Walker D ex-representative Forensic Science deputy director The difference between Walker and Barbieri is she waited until she had just left the legislature to cash in