To the editor:
The Kansas House Committee on State Employee Pay (HSCSEP) has recommended that state employees receive a 2.5 percent COLA and that longevity be CUT by 20 percent below the governor's recommendation. While it is extremely unlikely the proposed COLA will pass the Legislature (not since 1998), it is possible the Legislature will slash one of the few benefits left to underpaid senior state workers. If successful, the HSCSEP's proposal would gut longevity pay by paying us less than we received last year.
For the HSCSEP to set such a precedent seems to be a targeted, punitive and discriminatory move against only those state employees who have gained seniority status. If, for instance, this committee recommended a pay cut only to African- or Hispanic-American civil service employees, how far do you think such a recommendation would go? If Kansas University proposed a one-time salary increase for all of its employees, but a cut to tenured faculty pay, how far do you think such a recommendation would go?
No one can balance the state budget off the backs of its senior civil service employees. No one can expect experienced, knowledgeable state workers to stay if longevity pay is cut. Is that the goal? Is this proposal the first step in a long-range plan to compress salaries across the board, and eventually eliminate civil service altogether?
The Kansas Organization of State Employees should determine the legitimacy of a class-action suit if this proposal is adopted by the Legislature.