Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

KCC Offers Raises, with Catch ; KCC: Employees Not Obligated to Change

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

KCC Offers Raises, with Catch ; KCC: Employees Not Obligated to Change

Article excerpt

The Kansas Corporation Commission is tempting classified employees with a 7.5 percent raise that would move them out of the state's civil service system.

Many workers at the KCC, which regulates the state's utility industry, have received offers to give up civil service protections in exchange for a pay bump.

The Topeka Capital-Journal obtained the text of the email offer. The offer was sent to workers by Danelle Harsin, the KCC's human resources director.

The agency currently has 94 classified staff members and about 200 workers total.

Concerns have arisen that the offers require employees to first waive their classified status with no guarantee that they will receive the accompanying pay hike. That is because, according to Rebecca Proctor, director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, Gov. Sam Brownback's office must approve the increases.

"Please note this wage increase offer is contingent upon receiving approval from the Governor's Office," part of the email offer to workers reads.

"This is the first time that we have seen it done when the pay increase has not already been approved. Normally, when a pay increase is offered for an exchange of classified status, it's already been approved," Proctor said.

The agency indicated, however, the offer wouldn't create a situation where workers would give up classified status but not receive a pay raise, meaning that if the pay raise isn't approved by the governor's office, the worker wouldn't lose classified status. KCC spokesman Samir Arif confirmed that all classified workers at the agency received the offer on Wednesday.

Arif, in a statement, said the offer was for a 7.5 percent salary increase. That percentage represents more than an entire step increase on the classified pay scale. Classified workers haven't received an across-the-board step increase since 2006.

Workers have until later this month to decide whether to accept the offer.

Arif said the KCC is committed to retaining the specialized knowledge base of its employees. …

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