State pay raises

Underpaid employees are deserving

By The Mercury

The kneejerk reaction at word that a state committee has recommended pay increases of up to 12..5 percent for certain workers might transcend mere surprise.

After all, times are still tough, rank-and-file workers’ raises in the private sector are more wishful than real, and public employees are supposed to have it made.

But many of them don’t, including the Kansas public employees that the Joint Committee on Employ Pay Plan Oversight thinks deserve raises. The amounts were negotiated between the Department of Administration and state employee unions.

As an Associated Press story has reported, the roughly 4,300 state employees likely to get raises include more than 1,000 corrections workers who go about their difficult jobs in anonymity unless there is an escape or a scandal in the Department of Correct-ions.

Many haven’t gotten raises in several years. Recipients are to include employees at the state prisons in Lansing, El Dorado, Hutchinson and several smaller facilities. Juvenile Justice Authority workers also would get pay increases.

Rather than begrudge these workers their raises, Kansans ought to be glad that some inequities are being dealt with and urge the state’s leaders to focus on others, whether they involve pay or appropriate levels of service.

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