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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘Find some way to give employees at least something’

In testimony at this afternoon’s public hearing on state employee compensation:

Donna Yule, of the Idaho State Employees Association, urged lawmakers, “Find some way to give employees at least something.” She noted, “IPEA has been advocating for the reinstatement of this committee for five years. … Idaho’s workforce is becoming top-heavy and the pay disparity gap is growing. … I would like to submit to you that the system as it is currently used is not working.”

Fred Rice, chairman of the Idaho State Police Association, said the average hourly wage for an Ada County sheriff’s deputy is $33.52, but for an Idaho State Police trooper, it’s $24. “That makes it very difficult for me to keep my people very happy,” he said. “What can we do to be able to keep our troopers working for us, when there’s these types of opportunity to move on?” Rice said, “We are behind the curve. We have to keep these people here. … We’re way behind on our wages.” He added, “I believe we have done better with less, but we’ve really done this on the back of all state employees. … I truly believe that it's time that we take care of the state employees that are out here.”

Roger DuBois, administrative services manager for the Idaho Commission for Libraries, said he has employees who have been on the job for decades and still are paid far below policy rates for their jobs; one makes only $8 an hour. “ICFL as other agencies have made adjustments to ongoing demands,” he said. “We have very dedicated personnel, employees who embrace the commission’s mission and vision and are proud to serve Idaho’s citizens. They should anticipate incremental salary increase throughout their years, which is fair,” he said, based on merit. But the commission hasn’t been able to provide those pay bumps. “Without some small incremental increases in appropriations, salary savings is insufficient in order to meet that. We have had ongoing vacancies that we could not even fill due to the decreases in our appropriation.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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