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Thursday, October 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Panel approves 3% merit raises for state workers, with discretion for agency heads

Sen. Dan Schmidt’s motion on state worker pay, for 3 percent merit raises plus setting a minimum pay level for state employees of $9.25 per hour, has been defeated on a 2-14 vote, with just Schmidt and Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise, supporting it. Then, Rep. Phylis King’s motion for a 2 percent across-the-board raise for all state workers, a 1 percent merit raise, and raising 1,700 of the lowest-paid workers up to 75 percent of the policy rate for their jobs, failed on a 3-13 vote, with just King, Rep. Dan Rudolph, and Ward-Engelking backing it.

Then, the committee voted unanimously to approve the original motion from Sen. Fred Martin, for 3 percent merit-based raises for state employees, with discretion for agency heads. That matches the recommendations from both Gov. Butch Otter and the state’s Division of Human Resources annual report.

“I was very moved with our testimony the other day,” Martin said. He said testimony from the state Commerce director persuaded him that it was important to let agency heads have discretion to use the 3 percent to make their agencies work better, including helping workers at the lower end of the pay scale and rewarding employees for longevity and performance.

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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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