Archive for Saturday, March 31, 2007

State pay raise decision delayed

March 31, 2007


— State employees may not know until late April about what, if any, pay raise they can expect from the Legislature.

House and Senate budget negotiators are at a standoff over pay plans and will put off a decision until the wrap-up legislative session, which starts April 25, officials said Friday.

"This has the potential of really prolonging the session," said state Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka.

On Thursday, negotiators had a testy exchange and then shut down talks until Monday.

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn Tuesday, take a three-week break and then reconvene.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and the Kansas Senate have proposed a 4 percent pay increase.

House Republicans have proposed a 1 percent salary increase, $1,450 one-time salary bonus and an additional 2.5 percent increase for those whose job classes are substantially below the average market pay, according to a recent study.

As a counteroffer, Senate budget negotiators have proposed a 3 percent pay raise with an additional 5 percent increase to those working at way below market pay.

Sebelius, Senate budget negotiators and the Kansas Association of Public Employees say they dislike the House plan to provide bonuses because the bonuses would not be counted in retirement calculations nor future pay increases.

"At the end of the day, we have philosophical differences," Sebelius said.

Sens. Hensley, Vickie Schmidt, R-Topeka, and Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, held a news conference Friday emphasizing their opposition to the bonus proposal and instead favoring the higher pay raise.

But House Republicans have said the bonuses are seen as a temporary way to help state workers while the state creates a better pay classification system.

"We are trying to shift to a pay matrix that will be more fair to our employees," said state Rep. Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, and vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He said adding more funds in base pay will make the job that much harder in future years.

Kansas University employees aren't directly affected by proposed state employee pay raises because KU's more than 1,400 classified staff left the state civil service system in 2005.

Their pay raises are more directly affected by how much lawmakers appropriate to the universities in block grants, and then what KU administrators determine should be the salary increases.

KU administrators have said they want to give KU employees at least what state employees get, but hopefully more.

Since KU left the state employee pay plan, they have received raises that were more than other state employees.


terrapin2 10 years, 9 months ago

As an unclassified staff member at KU I am irritated by the mischarecterization of your article.

"Kansas University employees aren't directly affected by proposed state employee pay raises because KU's more than 1,400 classified staff left the state civil service system in 2005."

Hello! There are nearly 5,000 faculty & staff at KU, and many of those 'Kansas University employees' are unclassified staff. This article makes it sound as though the 1,400 classified staff that were mentioned = all Kansas University employees. Unclassified staff ARE affected by the State legislature's decisions on pay raises for State employees! And I for one am tired of the legislature's delay tactics instead of working this out now so state employees know what they can expect for a raise this summer.

Nice one, LJW. Please make a clearer distinction next time you refer to 'Kansas University employees'.

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