Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pay may inch up for state employees

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 7:29 AM

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has backed a state pay plan for next year that provides a 1 percent pay raise for most state employees. Not much, but better than nothing, which was the COLA this year.

Yes, some improvement will be made above that level at the low end of the scale, those working poor who were omitted from the governor's income tax cut because they prosper so much.  This will be particularly welcome for the 115 state employees who still make only $8 an hour. Minimum pay will rise to roughly $11 an hour for those workers. If the legislature is willing. And that's a big IF.

Reminder: Median income in the U.S. rose by 5.2 percent between 2014 and 2015, the Census said recently. But Arkansas lagged badly, rising only by 1.7 percent, which dropped us to 49th in the country. Asa will go state workers even less next year.

I look forward to the new year, when the group constitutionally mandated by a greedy legislature that gulled voters will again meet to determine whether state officials — legislators, statewide officials and judges — deserve a pay raise. The commission saw no need to meet this year, given the zero state employees got. It was a wise decision by the commission, but I understand some state officials were peeved. They value their worth high, particularly a couple of the $166,000 Supreme Court justices (Karen Baker and Jo Hart), who despite being among the highest paid Supreme Court judges in the country, particularly given the state's poverty, thought the pay wasn't nearly enough.

Elected officials should get no more than state employees. And it shouldn't be a given that they get that.  They all do disproportionately better than colleagues nationwide on average, something you can't say about many state employees.

Public officials got huge raises (145 percent for legislators) in the first round granted by the amendment's  new independent pay commission. That amendment also gave legislators longer terms and a fat loophole from the nominal restriction on lobbyist wining and dining.

PS: I noticed this morning that Sen. Joyce Elliott Tweeted about the terrible impact of incentive pay plans at Wells Fargo. It produced rampant fraud. I don't know she meant to suggest this in context with state employee pay, but the parallel is obvious. If the state moves to "performance" pay, as the governor wants to do, will performance be judged by how well a state employee carries out a political agenda (including proper deference off the job as well as on?). It is a fair question when the time comes. Be sure of this: The Bledsoes will get plenty.


Tags: , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Campus gun bill clears committee

    The so-called compromise amendment that will allow anyone 25 or older with a training certificate carry a concealed weapon on public college campuses was approved in a Senate committee this afternoon.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • DiPippa to be interim dean at UALR Law School

    UALR Chancellor Andrew Rogerson told staff today that law professor John DiPippa would serve as interim dean of the Bowen School of Law while a search is made for a permanent dean. The appointment takes effect in July. The search should begin in the fall.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • Democrat-Gazette cuts more jobs

    Arkansas Business'' Kyle Massey reports another round of layoffs at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. 12 to 15 people will be terminated, others will move to part-time status.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Architecture lecture: Sheila Kennedy on "soft" design

    Sheila Kennedy, a professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founder of Kennedy & Violich Architecture Ltd., will give the June Freeman lecture tonight at the Arkansas Arts Center, part of the Architecture + Design Network series at the Arkansas Arts Center.
  • UPDATE: Campus carry bill amended by Senate to require training

    The Senate this morning added an amendment to Rep. Charlie Collins campus carry bill that incorporates the effort denied in committee yesterday to require a 16-hour additional training period before university staff members with concealed carry permits may take the weapons on campus.
  • Director to resign from state court administrative office

    Supreme Court Chief Justice John Dan Kemp announced today the resignation of J.D. Gingerich, long-time director of the administrative office of the courts.
  • UA's Walton School eyes downtown location for executive ed program

    The Walton College of Business is working to expand its executive education by opening an office in downtown Little Rock that would offer non-degree programs to the health, banking and finance and retail industries in Central Arkansas, the school confirmed today.

Visit Arkansas

New Crystal Bridges exhibit explores Mexican-American border

New Crystal Bridges exhibit explores Mexican-American border

Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation