Friday, December 11, 2009

State Civil Service Commission Members Stumped by Jindal Response to Merit Pay Plan vote

Some Civil Service Commission members said Thursday they don’t understand Gov. Bobby Jindal’s objection to a new state employee pay plan that ties pay raises to job ratings.

The seven-member Civil Service Commission on Wednesday morning approved the proposal that would change how 61,000 rank-and-file classified workers would receive pay raises in the future. Another 30,000-plus state unclassified employees are not affected.

Late Wednesday night, a top Jindal aide released a two-sentence statement saying the governor would return the issue to Civil Service for more work.

The prepared statement by deputy chief of staff Stephen Waguespack said bosses in government agencies needed more flexibility in deciding pay raises than was allowed by the plan the commission adopted.

“I don’t see where we are denying them any flexibility in what we proposed,” said commissioner Wilfred Pierre, of Lafayette. “It was fair and equitable for all. I don’t understand where the lack of flexibility is.”

The plan the commission advanced on Wednesday would grant employees who “meet expectations” a 3 percent pay raise; those who “exceed expectations” 4 percent; and 6 percent for those who rate “outstanding.” Agencies could seek commission approval for a variance from the pay raise to award less or none based on “rational business plans.”

If no new pay rules are approved, the current 4 percent system stays in place.

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