The discourse on the General Pay Plan continues – with Department of Administration Director Ed Birn saying that the 22% pay increase is warranted – adding that although the number seems like its a lot – it is to catch up on the lack of pay increase over the years.
“It amounts to 1.7% a year, it’s not a huge amount. 22% sound’s like a lot, but that’s because it was a result of not paying an obligation. So for the very first time we’re in the position to be able to pay it, so let’s get it paid. Get people in the right category and paid the appropriate amount for the job they’re doing. And have a mechanism for making sure that we continue to make our obligations in future years,” says Birn in an interview on NewsTalk K57 with Patti Arroyo.
After days of back and forth on the emergency session floor to address concerns surrounding GDOE – lawmakers finally entered into the special session called forth by the Governor to address the General Pay Plan.
Senators originally reconvened at 2pm yesterday, but had to recess due to the language of Bill 24.
They reconvened again at around 6pm, where they entered a lengthy discussion.
The back and forth discussion between the Department of Administration and Lawmakers centering around the question of “can we afford it?”
With Minority Leader, Republican Senator Frank Blas Jr, saying that they should provide the pay raises if they can afford them.
Other concerns that were raised during last night’s 3 hour long session were who will get the pay raises.
Birn also addressed the concern on higher paid employees receiving the 22% increase.
“Of the roughly 3,500 government employees who would be covered by this pay adjustment, just under 300 earned more than 50,000. And people earning more than 50,000 was like 25. So we advised the Senators who are asking, that we wouldn’t recommend, and we would be concerned that we would be breaking the law if we were targeting individuals,” said Birn during the interview.
Lawmakers entered another lengthy discussion today with DOA.
During today’s session, one question brought up by Speaker Therease Terlaje was why raise the salaries of unclassified positions?
Saying that unclassified positions are not as competitive when compared to their classified counterparts.
Adding that the raises should be based on the merit system.
In Response Director Birn saying that, based on the laws and regulations internally at DOA, that they cannot pay individuals, who might be doing the same job, differently just because “the terms of their employment are different.”