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Archive for Thursday, September 6, 2012

Positive step

Funding approved earlier this year and salary recommendations announced Tuesday are an important recognition of the need to make state employee salaries competitive with those in the private sector.

September 6, 2012

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Even when the budget is tight, state officials in Kansas recognized a real need.

On Tuesday, a committee overseeing state employee pay recommended about $11.4 million in raises for underpaid state workers. The recommendation from the Joint Committee on Employee Pay Plan Oversight will result in raises ranging from 5 percent to 12.5 percent for a total of 4,296 state employees. The goal of the increases is to get pay levels for those employees closer to wages in the private sector. Funding for the raises was approved by the Kansas Legislature earlier this year, and the pay increases must get final approval from the State Finance Council.

Key among the workers who will benefit are corrections officers who work in Kansas prisons. More than a thousand corrections officers will receive raises of about 7.5 percent under the plan. A 7.5 percent raise is more than most employees in either the public or private sector can expect this year, but the raises were desperately needed to try to lower the turnover rate and raise the level of professionalism among the state’s corrections workforce. The officers haven’t received a pay raise since 2009, according to Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts, and a survey of seven states indicated that only Oklahoma paid its corrections officers less than Kansas.

In addition to officers at the state’s correctional facilities, the pay increases also will benefit 161 employees at the Kansas Juvenile Corrections Complex in Topeka, which is operated by the state’s Juvenile Justice Authority. The need for that funding was dramatically illustrated by a state audit report released in July that found the Topeka facility had a turnover rate of 32 percent over the last five years. That circumstance was seen as a key contributing factor to serious security and safety issues at the complex. State officials hope that pay increases will make the jobs more attractive and, therefore, make it easier to hire and maintain qualified staff members. Another expected benefit is a reduction of overtime hours, which would save money and put less stress on staff.

There are a couple of important reasons for the state to try to get its salaries closer to those in the private sector. As the state has trimmed its workforce in recent years, employees are being asked to do more, often at the same pay. Changes to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System also may make the state’s retirement plan less attractive for some new hires. Some state employees say they have been willing to work for salaries less than they could make in the private sector because of promised KPERS benefits, but that may no longer be the case.

Even if the state’s goal is a smaller government, it needs to be able to hire good people to perform important state jobs. The pay raises recommended on Tuesday are a step in that direction.

Comments

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voevoda 1 year, 7 months ago

Salaries paid to public employees helps to ascertain that the work done on behalf of the public for the public's benefit is done thoroughly and honestly. The salaries and benefits should be competitive with the best private sector positions. Those anti-government folks who resent paying comparable salaries ought to consider this: Money paid to government employees trickles down into private businesses in local communities. Almost everything they are paid goes directly back into the state's economy.

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Alceste 1 year, 7 months ago

Thank you, Orwell.

Alceste most certainly does.

However, despite the hegemony that republicans have in Kansas why didn't any of the local legislators.....say Francisco, or Davis, or Ballard introduce legislation to rectify the KPERS payoff to legislators? Those three claim to be democrats anyway......

Alceste shall answer the question: It's a CLUB. Francisco, Davis, Ballard, etc. are all part and parcel of said CLUB. None seemingly have the courage to do the right thing.

Here's a quote from a Senator Alceste wrote to about this KPERS scam.:

Dear Alceste,

Thanks for your note. My concern about the KPERS situation relates to our promise to our public employees. Your calculations for the legislators may well be correct, but I have not followed this aspect of service, and I serve for other reasons.

Regards,

Roger P. Reitz M.D. Senator District 22

Say what?

(PS: Alceste wrote back to Roger P. Reitz, M.D. requesting the Senator from Manhattan disclose which formula the hack chose for KPERS calculation purposes when he first joined the legislature. NO REPLY.)

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Orwell 1 year, 7 months ago

Well, we could always cut public employee compensation so no competent person will ever take a state job. Sounds like a pretty good way to guarantee truth of the standard whining point that government can't do anything right.

Meanwhile, remind me – which party held commanding majorities in the Kansas Legislature when the order of the day was to cut everything but legislators' benefits? Anybody else see a credibility/integrity issue there?

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Alceste 1 year, 7 months ago

J-W Editorials opines:

"Changes to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System also may make the state’s retirement plan less attractive for some new hires. Some state employees say they have been willing to work for salaries less than they could make in the private sector because of promised KPERS benefits, but that may no longer be the case."

Perhaps.

However, not with respect to being a member of the esteemed Kansas Legislature which has it's own extra special way of paying out KPERS benefits for days NOT worked. "How's that???" one might ask? Here it is in a nutshell:

Legislators have given themselves one heck of a sweetheart deal in how their own KPERS benefits are calculated. 372 days in a year! Leave it to a political hack to figure that one out!

For the legislator listing all income - the daily rate, subsistence and allowance - this is how annualization is calculated:

•$88.66 (daily rate) x 31 (days) x 12 (months) = $32,981.52

•$123 (subsistence) x 31 (days) x 12 (months) = $45,756

•$7,083 non-session allowance.

Altogether, that equals $85,820.52, and that's the pay figure that would be used for that legislator retiring now.

The Senate president and House speaker are at the top of the pay scale, and annualized pay for those posts could be as high as $99,859.74, depending on their enrollment choices.

This guy Morris who is the President of the Kansas Senate has even been quoted as saying he deserves that kind of KPERS benefit because he is so underpaid!!! Man, this is some amusing stuff!!! Aren't legislators supposed to be servants of the people? Isn't the common thinking that people run for office, not to get rich, but to serve? We sure do think stupid real good like in this state: The people who do the day to day work which make Kansas run have their KPERS figured one way.....and the galoots who pose for 3 months a year as "legislators" get to figure their KPERS benefit in a totally different manner.....to the point where they've invented a new calendar: 372 days in a year and they work each and every one of them!! Woo Hoo!!!

(This past legislative session these carpet baggers "changed" the calculation method: Instead of a 372 day year, they decided to make it a 365 day year and that is the extent of any KPERS reform for Legislators).

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FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 7 months ago

Government peeps 'pimping' the working man for more, and more, and more, and more of 'their money. Government peeps sole reason for existence is to take benefits away from he 'working' stiff, at the same time, 'acting' like they are doing something valuable to them.

When will these 'icky' peeps leave the 'working' people alone?

ha, ha, scary lifeforms the are.

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Patriot2 1 year, 7 months ago

Oh, and by the way, I've not seen a raise in the last 3 years, but my insurance premiums have gone up 10 fold!

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Patriot2 1 year, 7 months ago

Wow........This would be wonderful! Now, can you get private sector employees benefits in line with state workers benefits? Now that would be an accomplishment! to brag to your grandchildern about!

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