Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Editorial: A Terrible Deal for DCF Workers

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Editorial: A Terrible Deal for DCF Workers

Article excerpt

The budget lawmakers passed in June included long-overdue pay raises for state employees, many of whom hadn't seen their salaries increase in years. As inflation and cost of living have risen, this was a necessary measure -- it helps state employees afford basic necessities and improves morale. However, while lawmakers deserve credit for recognizing these facts, the raises were distributed in a way that generated resentment and unfairly neglected a few of our longest-serving state employees.

Under the budget passed this year, any state employee who has more than five years of experience -- and who hasn't received a raise during this time -- was given a 5 percent bump. Meanwhile, any worker who has been employed for less than five years received a 2.5 percent increase -- regardless of whether he or she had already received a raise. This means long-serving employees who were given small raises in the past were ineligible this time around, but newer employees who may have enjoyed the same raises still got the 2.5 percent.

Sara Vancil works in the financial aid and scholarships office at KU, and she's frustrated with this arrangement: "Why are we being held out from getting this increase? What was the Legislature's intent? It's kind of a slap in the face to longer-serving workers." The executive director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, Robert Choromanski, explained that "I have newer officers making more than veteran officers" because the longer-serving officers were given smaller raises in the past, making them ineligible.

Moreover, some of these employees opted to abandon their classified status -- which bars state agencies from firing or punishing people without cause -- in exchange for their raises. Choromanski points out that these employees can now "become arbitrarily terminated for no reason," and they still didn't get any more money this summer. …

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