Gilmore leads Nashville delegation in per diem this year

Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at 4:23pm

State Rep. Brenda Gilmore has collected the most daily expense cash of any state legislator from Nashville so far this year, according to new figures.

Gilmore raked in $16,192 in the $176 daily allowances, easily more than her nearest rival for the dubious honor. That was Rep. Sherry Jones, who took $15,488, according to the state’s Legislative Administration office.

Per diem for Nashville lawmakers always has been controversial. Critics argue local lawmakers don’t deserve the expense cash since they don’t have to pay for hotels and meals as do legislators from the far ends of the state.

Two Nashville lawmakers — House Speaker Beth Harwell and Sen. Douglas Henry — do not accept per diem. Harwell, who has collected $11,616 so far this year, gives hers to charity. Henry, who took $13,024, returns his to the state. 

In the legislature as a whole, Gilmore was the 13th-highest recipient of per diem. The per diem king was House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, who took $19,536.

All legislators collected roughly the same per diem during the five-month legislative session. After that, it’s up to lawmakers to decide how often they want to charge taxpayers for attending conferences or coming to Legislative Plaza for meetings or routine office work. 

Other leaders in per diem so far this year are Reps. Jimmy Naifeh, $18,683; Joe Towns, D-Memphis, $18,480; Mike Kernell, D-Memphis, $18,128; and Lois DeBerry, D-Memphis, $17,952. 

19 Comments on this post:

By: left on 8/9/11 at 5:01

All are crooks!

By: govskeptic on 8/10/11 at 5:15

No surprise is this results. Usually led Metro Council in same type categories
while serving in that body. Just loves that publicity, camera time, and "perks" !

By: budlight on 8/10/11 at 6:43

Two Nashville lawmakers — House Speaker Beth Harwell and Sen. Douglas Henry — do not accept per diem. Harwell, who has collected $11,616 so far this year, gives hers to charity. Henry, who took $13,024, returns his to the state.

I'd say this is a good reason to vote for Beth Harwell and/or Henry; apparently they are leading the way for "doing the right thing". Wish more would follow in these footsteps.

By: girliegirl on 8/10/11 at 6:43

Actually, govskeptic...while my husband was on the Council, he hardly ever used the "funds" you're eluding to. The only worthwhile perk was the Carmike Cinema pass~ LOL

By: girliegirl on 8/10/11 at 6:47

"discretionary funds" .....that's what Council called them.... but now they're paid a flat amount of $15,000

By: i.am.a.taxpayer on 8/10/11 at 6:59

It seems odd that the people who live in the same county as the State Capitol would be paid more than the people who live much further away. The people in Nashville would not need hotel rooms, so it does not make sense.

By: Nitzche on 8/10/11 at 7:20

Public service,for the little man, working class, ....love the Democratic party,,,of course, the memphis delegation leading the charge! now wait a minute, they are coming from memphis...blah,blah,blah..2+2=4, democrats at the trough= book it!

By: girliegirl on 8/10/11 at 7:20

It's fundamentally crooked.

By: Nitzche on 8/10/11 at 7:28

what is Madame gilmore's comment? that's waht I thought, nothing !don't have to, she is immune to criticism and scrutiny

By: frodo on 8/10/11 at 8:23

Okay, I enjoy bashing elected officials, too. It is like complaining about the school cafeteria...it is almost expected. But how many here would accept a job that requires you to be away from home most of each week and to drive hundreds of miles each week without some compensation for travel and lodging? I don't think we want legislators just "phoning it in" or conducting business via Facebook. Let's look at the standards for elected officials, but let's not impose a standard on them that we would not want for ourselves. I'm no fan of the tax-and-spend Memphis cabal. But this kind of criticism is just too cheap and easy.

Now, "Madam Gilmore," yeah, go ahead and criticize her. She lives in my area, and I KNOW it doesn't take $16,192 to get where she needs to go! And, yet, if we want it changed, then why are we not doing it at the ballot box? Apparently some people like it that way. The problem isn't the legislators. The problem is stupid us.

By: budlight on 8/10/11 at 8:30

Frodo hit the nail on the proverbial head! We are the voters! So if we allow people like Gilmore to get in and take "advantage" of us, then we have only got ourselves to blame.

I voted for Dean last time; big mistake.

Thank goodness I didn't vote for ODrama!

By: frodo on 8/10/11 at 8:48

Side conversation with Budlight (don't listen in)...why would you not want to vote for Mr. Nose-in-the-Air? Didn't you read the Tennessean this morning? Housing values are up. "Economy not as bad a feared," "Economy moving forward." "Don't put people with principles on the Debt Panel" (paraphrase) All positioned, of course, across the page from an anti-gun screed. This is why we keep voting these bloodsuckers in. Because the voters suck on this stuff every morning.

By: bfra on 8/10/11 at 1:48

That money is probably used by Gilmore to buy all those hats!

By: cannoneer2 on 8/10/11 at 6:23

ANYBODY ELSE NOTICE THAT THE "PER DIEM KING" WAS A REPUBLICAN????

By: shef2 on 8/10/11 at 7:44

So, what I just did, was write to Brenda Gilmore, as well as Sherry Jones, a personal note, to say that they should be ashamed, & they were Greedy.
I certainly don't get $176- per diem, per day... Hello-!?!?

By: Moonglow1 on 8/11/11 at 7:41

Moonglow1: this article sounds racial to me. All (republicans, democrats, independents, tea party, white, black, asian, muslim, christian) take what is offered. If taxpayers don't want to pay per diem then change the rules. Per diem is a drop in the bucket in comparison to my tax money paying for Halliburton, Blackwater, and the other corporate welfare crooks who feed off the government.

By: budlight on 8/11/11 at 7:58

You know everyone wants to be on the dole. I just spoke to someone who is getting a college grant for minorities. That person is on extended unemployment and said the grant for minorities is about $3000 larger than normal grants. Then the person said: "I'm not really interested in the college degree; I just want to get a car and pay my rent for the semester". I almost croaked! It seems so unreal to me that we have reached the point in America where people are expecting to be "kept". Talk about a sugar daddy - the U.S. Government is sugar daddy to millions. And our tax dollars are doing it.

Yeah shef2, I agree with you. $176 per day is a lot especially when people should not expect the gov-ment to pay for their food. After all, they would have to eat even if they are not in the legislature, wouldn't they?

By: tomba1 on 8/11/11 at 10:30

not to worry - the lobbyists will feed them anything they "need".

By: TTS on 8/11/11 at 1:00

What do you expect people?...every one of the names given in the story are "hold your hand out gimme free money" DEMOCRATS!

I mean c'mon...SERIOUSLY? Do y'all REALLY expect them to behave any differently? Are y'all high or what? The only reason ANY of them give it back to any place else other than keep it, is because they have been scorned and scrutinized already for getting it.

A sad bunch of freeloading hustlers is all they are...it's SHAMEFUL!