Efficiency should remain focus

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: March 6, 2013
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The debate over government employee pay isn't confined to Oklahoma. Stateline.org notes the issue is being argued across the country.

In Florida, Republican Gov. Rick Scott has proposed giving all state employees a $1,200 bonus and allowing agencies the ability to give permanent raises to some high-performing employees. As in Oklahoma, Florida state workers haven't had an across-the-board raise since 2006.

In Arizona, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer is tying pay raises to an overhaul of the state's personnel system. New employees are now required to forgo traditional civil service protections, giving managers more flexibility in workforce management. Current employees who choose to opt out of the old civil-service system get a 5 percent one-time bonus that Brewer now wants to make permanent.

Here, Gov. Mary Fallin isn't supporting a pay raise this year. Instead, she wants a study conducted on development of a performance-based pay system for state workers. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Public Employees Association wants a one-time bonus of $1,000 for state employees to help offset the lack of a raise in recent years.

However, increased efficiencies have allowed some agencies to give raises without extra appropriations. Fallin's study would account for those raises, as well as benefits that may exceed private-business norms, in determining the true status of Oklahoma government pay compared with the private sector.

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