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

Readers also liked…

  • Dexter Suggs resigns as Little Rock school superintendent

    This just in from state Education Department: Today, Commissioner Johnny Key reached an agreement with Dr. Dexter Suggs that resulted in Dr. Suggs’ immediate resignation as superintendent of the Little Rock School District.
    • Apr 21, 2015
  • Saturday's open line

    Got any thoughts? Put them here.
    • May 21, 2016
  • More legal headaches for Dexter Suggs

    Dexter Suggs may have cleared out his office before the workday began today, but he still has lingering legal matters as defendant in lawsuits against him and the state.
    • Apr 21, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.
  • Arkansas archeologist does his job, is asked to leave

    Amid Department of Arkansas Heritage project.

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation