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Spin Control

Posts tagged: state employees

Wonder who makes what, working for the state? We can show you

To search the updated database of state employees' salaries, click here.

OLYMPIA – The best-paying state jobs in Washington are still in academia, with the very best in athletics.

The annual listing of salaries for all state employees shows once again that the biggest paychecks in 2011 went to staff at either the University of Washington or Washington State University, with the top five going to coaches of the two schools’ football and basketball teams.

Husky football coach Steve Sarkisian tops the list of state employees with an annual salary topping $2.5 million. He also saw the biggest increase from 2010, with an increase of $546,000.

University officials are always quick to point out, however, that salaries for coaches and the other athletic departments’ staffs don’t come out of state tax dollars. They are covered by a combination of ticket sales and broadcast revenues.

UW basketball coach Lorenzo Romar is second, with a little more than $1.2 million. WSU basketball coach Ken Bone, former WSU football coach Paul Wulff and former UW assistant coach Nick Holt round out the top five before the first non-coach, WSU President Elson Floyd shows up on the list at $625,000.

The list represents all payments made to state employees. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here

State workers: Veto medical marijuana bill

OLYMPIA — The state employees union joined the fray over the medical marijuana bill, urging Gov. Chris Gregoire in a letter today to veto it.

The letter from Greg Devereaux, executive director of the Washington Federation of State Employees, said the law would put them in a “precarious position of enforcing a state law which could potentially lead to their prosecution under federal law.”

That missive comes on the heels of Thursday's letter from University of Washington Law Professor Hugh Spitzer, one of the state's top constitutional law experts, that  contends those types of prosecutions are highly unlikely, despite a letter from federal prosecutors to Gregoire. Spitzer accused U.S. Attorneys Mike Ormsby of Spokanke and Jenny Durkan of Seattle of “federal bullying” and argued such prosecutions haven't occured over other conflicts between federal and state laws for decades — maybe not since the Civil War.

Gregoire is scheduled to take action on the bill at 2:30 p.m., and said earlier in the week she'd like to salvage the state registry for medical marijuana patients if she can find a way to separate that from provisions that call for state agencies to license growing, processing and dispensary operations. 

Just can the whole thing, Devereaux said in the letter.

If that happens, the Legislature could take up the issue again in the special session if there's an agreement by the leaders of both parties in both chambers and Gregoire. That kind of OK would be needed because a medical marijuana isn't directly connected to the budget, which is supposed to be the focus of the special session.

WA State workers agree to cuts

OLYMPIA — Unions for state workers have agree tentatively to cuts in wages and increases in health premiums for the next two years.

Union leaders and Gov. Chris Gregoire announced the tentative agreement, which include furloughs that will bring most wages down by 3 percent, in a hastily called press conference Tuesday afternoon. State employees will also carry the cost of any increases in health care in the coming two years, and the state share will be set at its current amount.

The unions cover all state workers, in agencies throughout the state to nurses at Eastern State Hospital and corrections officers at Airway Heights. State managers will experience similar cuts, and elected officials will ask the state Commission on Salaries to lower their salaries by like amounts.

“This is real sacrivice by public employees,” Gregoire said, adding she’d fight any legislative attempts to extract more from union and non-union workers during the upcoming session.

Under the agreement, which must still be ratified by the unions’ memberships and approved by the Legislature, about 90 percent of all state workers will have their hours cut by slightly more than 5 hours a month, and agency managers and employees will work out schedules to handle these flexible “furloughs” without closing their doors or compiling overtime by other staff. The only ones exempt from the cuts will be those workers who earn less than $30,000 a year.

The state will continue its current contribution of $850 a month to health insurance, which is currently 85 percent of the cost. State workers currently pay $150 and will pay any increases over the next two years.

The agreements would save an estimated $176 million in the state’s general fund over the 2011-13 budget period, and a total of $269 million for all agencies covered by all state funds.

 

State worker furloughs start next Monday

OLYMPIA — Many Washington state employees will get another three-day weekend after this Friday, but this one will be without a paid holiday.

Next Monday is the first of 10 unpaid “furlough” days the Legislature mandated this spring as it battled over ways to close a looming budget deficit. Most non-essential personnel will stay away from work next Monday and nine other designated days without pay. Estimates from the Office of Financial Management say that all-told, that will save the state about $70 million.

A state employees union challenged the furloughs, but a judge  has declined to issue an order that would block them.

If you’re thinking about zipping across the state at 100  miles an hour without having to worry about being caught by a state trooper,  however, think again. Law enforcement personnel on the streets are exempt from the furloughs.

So are corrections officers, emergency public heath and safety personnel And while the state Liquor Control Board offices are closed, the liquor stores will be open.

Next furlough day will be Aug. 6.

For a list of all the offices, agencies, boards and commissions that will be taking the day off, go inside the blog.

WA Lege Day 30: Senate votes to suspend bonuses

OLYMPIA — By a vote of 48-0, the Senate suspended bonuses for state employees not covered by union contracts.

Vote on suspending super-majority for tax increases coming, likely before lunchtime

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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