Most State Employees Did Not Get Their Oct. 1 Pay Raises

BATON ROUGE (AP) — More than 35,000 of Louisiana's rank-and-file classified employees received their favorable evaluations, but they're not getting their pay raises.

         Officials at most state government agencies say they don't have the money and would have to lay off employees to grant the 4 percent salary increases.

         The Advocate’s Marsha Shuler reports the pay bumps were scheduled to take place Oct. 1, but a majority of the executive branch agencies, along with most colleges and universities, sought and received state Civil Service permission to withhold the extra money.

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         A Civil Service report says 96 percent of the 37,736 classified civil servants evaluated were rated "exceptional" or "successful" — the job performance ratings needed to be eligible for the annual pay raises. State workers got raises last year, the first in three years, for some.

         "I'd like nothing more than to give employee raises," said Kathy Kliebert, the state health chief whose "lay off avoidance" filing impacted 5,153 people working at the State Department of Health and Hospitals. Four percent pay raises would have cost DHH an additional $10.5 million.

         "It's not really responsible of us, knowing we are facing a really tight budget, to give a raise at this time," Kliebert said.

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         The Jindal administration announced a deficit in the operating budget for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The money needed to pay for the already promised spending in the current fiscal year is expected to come up short; and fiscal officials predict that legislators will need to find upwards of $700 million in cuts or increased revenues to balance the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2016.

         Non-education staff at LSU, the University of New Orleans, Southern University New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana University at Hammond won't get the raise. But employees at Southern University-Baton Rouge and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette will get raises, at least according to Civil Service filings.

         LSU President King Alexander opted to fill faculty vacancies to handle growing student demand rather than increasing salaries, LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said.

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         Some employees of the government agencies run by officials elected statewide will get pay raises, others won't.

         Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, state Treasurer John Kennedy and Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon withheld the raises.

         Secretary of State Tom Schedler and Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain granted them — only to classified employees — no appointees. Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has no classified employees.

         Classified employees are those with job protection through Civil Service. Unclassified employees are appointees, professors as well as employees subject to hiring and firing at will.

         For more information




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