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Proposed One-Time Pay Increase for State Workers a Morale Boost for Employees

February 2, 2007

A bill under consideration in the state senate this year would give state employees a one-time across the board one percent pay increase, and the South Dakota State Employees Organization says it would be win-win for the state and its workers. Executive director Corey Landeen says the payment would only be made if there were adequate reserves to fund it. He says the payment is important because state employees aren't keeping pace with the cost of living.

"We haven't kept up with the rest of our counterparts. So, this money doesn't build into the base of the employees' paycheck. Basically, it's a thank-you for the hard work and the effort that you put forth the last few years. We're not building this into your base but we're giving you what we can with the monies available."

The increase may also help offset rising health care costs and boost morale.

"It would be a thank-you, a pat on the back for doing a job well done, and kind of lift people's spirits and know that the elected officials up here care about what they're doing and they support them."

Landeen notes that state employees have gone a long time without significant salary increases.

"We think this is a fair compromise to the taxpayers of South Dakota as well as to the employees. We're asking for a one-time pay supplement to help employees out, especially those employees at the lower end where the health care increases have been particularly hard on."

The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Appropriations Committee today, and the request is separate from the Governor's recommended salary package. Governor Rounds sponsored similar legislation when he served in the legislature.

David Law/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - SD