State Rep. Lee Tafanelli discusses new state employee pay plan
House Concurrent Resolution No. 5030 ( .PDF )
State employees payment plan
Topeka — A bipartisan effort to fix a long-standing problem in pay for state employees was signed into law Friday by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.
"Workers are going to be treated more fairly," Sebelius said, and added that "services will improve."
The law will give state employees a 2.5 percent pay raise, and it will start a five-year phase-in to pump in additional dollars to employees whose pay had fallen below market value. It will also establish a performance-based pay raise system rather than one based on seniority, officials said.
Reps. Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, Pat George, R-Dodge City, and Tom Hawk, D-Manhattan, were among the legislators working on the plan the past two years.
"It is a landmark day for our state employees, and more importantly for the state of Kansas, as we now have a pay plan that we believe helps to fit the contemporary needs of the state and certainly recognizes our state employees for the valuable work that they do on behalf of all of the citizens of Kansas," Tafanelli said.
The Kansas Organization of State Employees also supported the measure.
A study showed that thousands of state employees were making less than they could have on the private market or in other government jobs; in some instances their pay was 40 percent below their counterparts.
House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, said the new system "is a big step forward with the state acknowledging the importance of its work force and what needs to be done to attract and keep the best employees."
Raising state salaries of about 7,800 workers to the market level will require about $80 million during the next five years. Lawmakers allocated $16 million for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The 2.5 percent pay raise will cost $55 million. There are approximately 40,000 state workers.
In 2005, classified employees at Kansas University separated from the state classified pay structure because many were unhappy about salary increases approved by the Legislature.
In the last legislative session, KU received a block grant that would provide an average 2.5 percent pay raise for workers, but school officials will determine how those funds are allocated.
Since the change took effect, University Support Staff have received three consecutive annual pay increases of 3 percent and an added 1.5 percent increase to the pool for merit raises.