Haslam criticized for denying pay raises to disciplined workers

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 12:58pm

A state House Democratic leader criticized Gov. Bill Haslam Wednesday for denying supposedly across-the-board pay raises to state employees who had been disciplined in the past year.

“It’s wrong,” Rep. Mike Turner of Nashville said. “If a state worker does something wrong, there’s a process you go through. This is piling on. The intent of the legislature was to give those raises to everybody. It appears the governor has usurped some legislative power.”

On July 1, Haslam denied the 1.3 percent raises to 771 employees who either had been disciplined or had received poor performance evaluations in the past year. It was the first pay raise for state employees in three years.

The Tennessee State Employees Association protested Haslam’s decision, saying it amounted to punishing the workers twice. More of them might have challenged their disciplinary actions if they had known they would lose the pay raises, TSEA officials said.

Republican legislative leaders supported Haslam. Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said, “I do agree with the governor on this issue. You reward people with a raise, and if they haven’t been doing a satisfactory job, then [they] ought to be penalized.” 

17 Comments on this post:

By: conservarage on 8/3/11 at 1:04

idea that people should get the same pay raise even if they do a bad job = typical democrat thinking

By: Mom_of_3 on 8/3/11 at 1:36

State employees should be thankful they have a job making a wage instead of crying for a raise not deserved. There are plenty of people that would love to have a state job or any job for that matter. Greed is a terrible thing.

By: gdiafante on 8/3/11 at 2:09

Happens to Congress all the time, conservarage...even your beloved Republicans.

By: concretemike on 8/3/11 at 2:13

The Tennessee State Employees Association protested Haslam’s decision, saying it amounted to punishing the workers twice. More of them might have challenged their disciplinary actions if they had known they would lose the pay raises, TSEA officials said.

So these state employees (I have trouble calling many of them workers) who have had recent disciplinary actions are lazy and stupid?

If you don't think you were in the wrong why sit back and take it when the boss writes you up?...........they know they were not doing what was required of them.

SOL baby!!!!!

By: Kosh III on 8/3/11 at 2:20

Some people who did not get the tiny raise(the first in years) were disciplined for tardiness. Anyone here get stuck in traffic and arrive late for work?
Demotions can occur when the job is eliminated and the person is allowed to take a lesser position.

Treat State workers like private industry? You mean offer annual or semi-annual merit raises? Great idea but the only way civil servants can get a raise is by beggging and pleading with the Legislature and so it happens rarely.

Want to name a company which will take over the job of DCS? Highway Patrol?

By: Kosh III on 8/3/11 at 2:22

Don't forget that after barely 3 months on the job, the top people were given 9-20% raises. In private industry, one must serve a probationary period but when you are a crony of the boss you can get anything you want while the folks who do the real work get zip.

By: bfra on 8/3/11 at 2:39

I agree with Haslam on this one. The State & Metro have too many workers. Just visit any of the many depts. and observe for a while. Scads are there because they know or are kin to someone & feel entitled.

If a worker is not pulling their weight, why should they get a raise?

By: T-BONE on 8/3/11 at 3:43

You do NOT reward negative behavior...PERIOD! Give the "slackers" a raise"? NO WAY! Guess what, thats the way it works in the REAL world!

By: Magnum on 8/3/11 at 5:12

I hate to judge without knowing individual stories. For instance, if I lost my raise over a traffic jam, I'd be furious. It is indeed hard to compare state jobs to private. The privilege of annual merit increases comes with the downside of downsizing. Many companies have cut 20% or more of their headcount since the start of the economic downturn. I don't know the figures, but I bet the state has not. Sure they cut lots of "unoccupied" positions, but many of those have been unoccupied for some time and therefore only affect budgets. Another difference is that most private workers I know work well over 40 hours per week. Many state jobs require fewer than 40 hours per week (mid to high 30's) and absolutely no overtime. I could go on, but at the end of the day, state workers give up benefits that private workers enjoy. However, one can also argue that private workers give up benefits that state workers enjoy (job security, work hours, etc.).

By: Rocket99 on 8/4/11 at 8:17

I see we're all full of stereotypes on this.

People did not loose their raise because they were late for work one time. Anyone who believes that has problems.

As far as having too many State workers, I ask people to observe any office of any size, public and private, and see how many appear to not be working at any time. How many of you work non-stop from the time you get to your job until the time you leave? ZERO!

If State workers were treated like private industry in both pay and raises, most all would be making a lot more money. Also, some of the dead wood would be gone.

All State workers are not in jobs because of who they know or who they are related to.

If Bredesen had done the same things, more than likely, the Republicans would be crying foul and the Democrats would be backing his decision so, saying it's a Democrat thing is just BULL.

By: govskeptic on 8/4/11 at 8:36

Many lucky they weren't fired and I'm sure no one actually got their salaries reduced
which is often used in private industry. But of course, you would expect just these
kind of lame comments from a legislator whose main job is that of Union Firefighter.
Raises given no matter the performance is 2nd only to the absolute stupidest
action often taken in government discipline of "Promote and transfer"!

By: gblue on 8/4/11 at 8:47

Anybody at work while you are reading this?

By: BenDover on 8/4/11 at 9:21

They should fire the bottom 10% every year. Doing so would continuously improve the state work-force resulting in less need to replace the slackers and more $s to reward the superior performers.

By: LizzyD on 8/4/11 at 9:34

KOSH, please don't mention privatizing the "Highway Patrol." I'm sure that KBR and Xe are "at the ready."

By: LizzyD on 8/4/11 at 9:44

Ben Dover,

And who is it who decides each year who gets fired to "purify the breed"?

May I suggest someone very white and very male and very evangelical Christianist who never reads books?

Yeah, that's the ticket!

By: Nitzche on 8/4/11 at 1:56

MikeTurner? when has he ever had a original thought? his next one will be his first!

By: Navy on 8/4/11 at 2:18

What else do you expected from a Republican. They hate state, city employees If you don't know by now the only reason they want to be in power is to bust the union.