Monday, November 2, 2009

Civil service pay change on the table

Civil service officials are considering a system that gives individual government managers more of a say on which state workers get pay raises and how much.

The proposal is scheduled to be taken up Wednesday by the seven-member state Civil Service Commission, which decides policy for about 61,000 classified state government workers.

The proposal is touted as a move to a “pay for performance” system that would allow agencies to reward employees for jobs well done.

State employees and retirees have been peppering the Civil Service Commission with objections to the revamp of long-standing rules on government pay. They fear the plan will mean no pay raises. They complain the recommendations would give agency officials carte blanche authority and could lead to denying good workers pay raises for political reasons.

“As I understand it, if my performance is rated ‘exceeds expectations’ I can still be denied an adjustment, based on other criteria decided by the appointing authority who just happens to be obligated to the Governor,” state employee Daniel Hurdle wrote in an e-mail to the commission.

The proposed changes to Chapter 6 of the Civil Service rules were drafted by staffers in the Department of Civil Service. The changes are backed by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration.

At the heart of the proposal is elimination of the across-the-board 4 percent annual raise for nearly all the state’s civil service workers.

Instead, Civil Service would set pay raise ranges from zero to 6 percent based on performance: Up to 3 percent for “meets expectations,” up to 4 percent for “exceeds expectations” and up to 6 percent for “outstanding.”

In the future, state agencies could have total discretion to determine if and how much of a pay increase their employees receive.

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