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Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

CEC testimony: ‘We lost ground we may never make up’

After an hour and 10 minutes of public testimony, the Legislature’s joint CEC Committee has wrapped up today’s meeting on state employee pay; it’ll meet again tomorrow afternoon, and then again on Tuesday at 4 p.m. to make its recommendations.

John Tippets, director of the state Department of Environmental Quality and former co-chair of the joint CEC Committee when he served in the state Senate, urged support for Gov. Butch Otter’s recommendation for 3 percent merit raises for state employees. “It is appropriate, I think it’s needed, and I think it’s well-deserved,” he said. Tippets said during the economic downturn, when Idaho went years on end without raising state employee pay and even cut it, “We lost ground that I think we may never make up.”

The panel also received 12 written comments, all in favor of increasing compensation for state employees, with many citing specific concerns about the situation in their agencies around the state.

Wrote Dallas Peyton, a clinical supervisor with the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections in Nampa, “The last position I hired for took a year to fill.” Wrote Christie Beeler, a self-reliance specialist in child support in Coeur d’Alene, “We are close to Washington, where they just passed an increase on minimum wage to $11, and it is scheduled to continue to rise over the next few years.” She noted that just over 20 miles from her office, a Cinnabon is advertising for workers at $11 to $18 an hour, and wrote, “It would be sad to see great employees leave to work at a Cinnabon or a place like it just for a pay increase to be able to support their families.”

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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