Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey is defending the Haslam administration’s decision to deny pay raises to state employees who have been disciplined by their bosses in the past year.
“I do agree with the governor on this issue,” Ramsey told reporters Thursday. “You reward people with a raise and if you haven’t been doing a satisfactory job, there ought to be a penalty for that. The only measure in state government [for pay] is longevity, and so there need to be some other measures in there. So doing your job without reprimand can be part of that.”
On Gov. Bill Haslam’s recommendation, the legislature gave state employees 1.6 percent pay raises this year. But the administration decided to deny the raises to 850 workers — 2 percent of the executive branch workforce — who had been reprimanded at least twice, demoted or suspended within the past year.
The Tennessee State Employees Association protested in a letter to Haslam on July 5.
“Not only have the disciplined employees already suffered the financial loss involved in a suspension or a demotion, they are now being notified of an additional penalty, which was not in force at the time they received their original disciplinary action and accompanying penalty,” TSEA President Philip Morson wrote.
Asked by the Tennessee Report website about the TSEA complaint at a political fund-raiser Wednesday evening, Haslam said:
“Raises are for those employees who performed their jobs well. If an employee has been disciplined or had two written reprimands, I’m not certain that qualifies them (as) the type of folks that in a very limited economy we want to give raises to.”