Idaho Democrats to hold own hearing Monday on zero payraise for state employees

Democratic Reps. Shirley Ringo of Moscow and Phylis King of Boise will hear from state employees they say have been shorted by the Legislature and Gov. Butch Otter’s inattention. Ringo and King both sit on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.

 
“Employees have not had the opportunity to be heard for five years,” Ringo said, saying the last time the Change in Employee Compensation Committee met was to prepare the fiscal 2009 budget.

The hearing is set for Monday, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Room 42 on the east side of the Capitol’s Garden level, where the House Revenue & Taxation Committee meets.

Otter has recommended no money for pay increases in fiscal 2014, after a 2 percent boost in fiscal 2013. Ringo noted that  in fiscal 2010 and 2011, there was no money for pay increases. In fiscal 2009, a 5 percent cut was applied. Ringo says employees lost $12.2 million in wages taking unpaid furloughs during the recession.

Ringo said lawmakers have largely ignored Idaho law’s provision aimed to keep state pay competitive: “It is hereby declared to be legislative intent that regardless of specific budgetary conditions from year to year, it is vital to fund necessary compensation adjustments each year to maintain market competitiveness in the compensation system. In order to provide this funding commitment in difficult fiscal conditions, it may be necessary to increase revenues, or to prioritize and eliminate certain functions or programs in state government, or to reduce the overall number of state employees in a given year, or any combination of such methods.”

The news release from the Democrats follows:

State Employees and Teachers Invited to Speak to Legislators About Wages and Work Conditions.

Boise—Policymakers need to hear from state workers and teachers to make good sound policy. That’s obvious. But state workers lack the opportunity to speak directly with legislators. Two Representatives, Shirley Ringo of Moscow, and Phylis King of Boise, are inviting state employees and teachers to speak to them regarding working conditions and wages Monday at the Capitol in Boise. All legislators have also been invited to attend.

DATE: Monday, February 18
TIME:  4:00 TO 6:00 pm
LOCATION: Idaho Capitol, East Wing Room 42

Managers can’t make good decisions without paying attention to the people who actually do the work. But the Idaho Legislature no longer holds an annual Change in Employee Compensation (CEC) hearing. Reps. Ringo and King want employees, past and present, as well as the general public, to speak up. These lawmakers will make sure all testimony is presented to their fellow elected leaders.

Employees should bring every issue: wage adequacy, condition of state buildings, workload, training issues, technology adequacy, etc. For Idaho’s government to be efficient and effective, elected leaders must hear from workers who are closest to the public and understand how to improve our state’s public services.

For people who care to testify:

  • Casual clothing is fine.
  • If you comment, keep comments brief.
  • Be sure to sign in.

The press is invited and encouraged to attend. For those who cannot make it to the statehouse, please send comments to pking@house.idaho.gov.

For more information, contact:

Representative Phylis King                                         Representative Shirley Ringo

pking@house.idaho.gov                                             sringo@house.idaho.gov

208-332-1080                                                              208-332-1035

 

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Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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