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Eye On Boise

Nellis’ parting message to Idaho lawmakers: Fund CEC

Duane Nellis, the outgoing president of the University of Idaho, penned a guest opinion saying goodbye and offering Idaho policy makers his final bit of advice: Fund CEC. That’s the acronym for Change in Employee Compensation, the mechanism by which traditionally, each year, the governor and lawmakers decided how much to increase pay for state employees, from university professors to agency secretaries, maintenance workers to customer-service folks. But in the last five years, that system has broken down.

This year, for the upcoming fiscal year 2014, the governor recommended, and the Legislature approved, zero funding for CEC. That’s the same funding allocated for fiscal years 2010, 2011 and 2012. For the current fiscal year, 2013, a 2 percent CEC was funded for all state employees meeting performance standards; normally, CEC is parceled out on a merit basis, not across the board.

Nellis, who leaves the University of Idaho in a week to become president of Texas Tech University, had high praise for the quality of the faculty and staff at the U of I. “If I could give one final piece of advice to my friends in the state Legislature, it would be to invest in these people,” he wrote. “I would hope that your highest priority next year is CEC – Change in Employee Compensation. CEC affects our teachers, police, firefighters, librarians and thousands of other Idahoans who work hard to make our state and our communities better. It is critical for a state like Idaho to invest in its people, in the expertise it has, and not let them slip away to other states that pay a bit more.”

For a 20-year history of CEC in Idaho, click here.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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