Blunt swift in defending record on National Guard payroll
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Blunt swift in defending record on National Guard payroll

Date: September 16, 2008
By: Rebecca Beitsch
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - The office of GOP Gov. Matt Blunt has jumped into the State Treasurer Campaign.

While the governor was in Kosovo, Blunt's communications office was swift to address attacks from the democratic candidate.

State Treasurer candidate and State Representative Clint Zweifel criticized Gov. Blunt over a pay lag for National Guard members.

On Monday the Zweifel campaign sent out a press release calling for action from the Blunt Administration after citing an Associated Press article that reported  National Guard members were waiting up to 30 days to get paid.

"The Blunt Administration needs to stop putting bureaucratic convenience before the financial security of guard members," Zweifel said via press release. He then questioned why technology couldn't lead to a more efficient payment method.

The Governor's officer shot back Tuesday with a press release of their own  including a "Truth Check." According to the press release, National Guard members are paid "on an average of ten to eleven business days after the end of the pay period."

The Blunt press release also calls the issue a legislative one. It also questions why Zweifel did not attempt to change it during legislative session, asking "Where was he?"  

Patrick Lynn, a spokesperson for the Zweifel campaign, said if National Guard members were left in the state payroll system instead of being treated like new employees every time they are called to duty, the pay lag could be decreased.

"Blunt has been in office too long if he sides with the bureaucracy and doesn't think he can do anything to solve this problem," Lynn said. "It's an excuse not to make a little, tiny effort to do something for  National Guard members."

Lynn accused Blunt of "hiding behind the law" and encouraged Blunt to file an emergency rule to ensure guard members get paid more quickly.

The governors office did not respond to Lynn's comments before deadline.

This is the second time Gov. Blunt has referenced Zweifel in a press release this year. The first time came August 21 when Blunt said Zweifel had inaccurately called Missouri's tuition the highest in the Big 12.

According to Blunt, that dubious achievement goes to Iowa where the cost of a four-year institution totals $6,215 per year. Missouri, said the release, weighs in at $6,003.