Ramsey defends Haslam's raise denial to some state workers

Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 2:27pm

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.”

13 Comments on this post:

By: conservarage on 7/14/11 at 12:41

this shouldn't be news. if you're a troublesome employee, you're lucky to have a job, much less get a raise.

By: Kosh III on 7/14/11 at 1:47

Employees who DO a good job should be rewarded with a raise but that never happens either. State Employees have to beg and grovel for a few scraps. Yet last year Ramsey fiddled the system to give the state employes in his office a huge raise, deserved or not.
Haslam gave the Commissioners raises of 11-40% even though they had been on the job only a few months.
You avowed conservatives yammer about running the state like business, but every company I've worked for put folks on probation for 6 months to a year and only gave small raises if the job review was better than usual.

By: pswindle on 7/14/11 at 4:34

They were looking for something to deny the raise. I read where if you were two or three minutes late, you were written up. Some days the traffic is beyond the pale, and you are lucky to be just a litle late. I never remember the former GOV. being so heartless. This bunch that we have up there are against working people. How many times do you need to be punished for one mistake? I can all ready put my finger on many mistakes that Haslam has made. Should we take is salary away? It would not hurt him because he has oil money, but the poor workers of tnis state is living from paycheck to paycheck. I really could not care what Ramsey has to say..

By: Moonglow1 on 7/15/11 at 6:43

Moonglow1: Irrespective of this issue, I give Haslam an F for his time in office. Thereby, if he were being paid for performance, I would have fired him long ago. In addition, I doubt that the commissioners whom Haslam gave 35% raises to are being evaluated and being paid for performance.

I find it hard to believe that 850 state workers are not doing a good job. There may be reasons why so many have been reprimanded. One reason could be poor management. I suggest a comprehensive evaluation of the working conditions, hiring practices, and performance evaluation process in the state system.

There is a good article in The Nation about the ALEC and how each Republican governor is pushing legislation using ALEC templates. I bring this up because one of the ACEC's goals is to demonize public sector workers. By Haslam inferring that 850 state workers are losers, he is perpetuating the stereotype of lazy public sector workers. Of course, none of the Republicans ever talk about the highly paid non-performing CEOs and Wall Street hedge fund managers that add absolutely nothing to the economy, but are great at maintaining their wealth. Haslam's highly paid commissioners may be included in this category.

Oh and entitlements!!! The worst entitlements are those given to the multinational corporations. They are the first in line (along with their pea brain CEOs like Cheney/Halliburton) to accept and actually demand government handouts paid for by middle class taxpayers. They are the real welfare recipients.

By: fishfry on 7/15/11 at 7:39

Thank you Mr Ramsey for having the guts to back up a good decision. We have for years just let government employees do minimal work for good wages. These people are "public servants" or they are supposed to be. As such they should not have "guaranteed" jobs no matter what. The government has gone from people friendly to arrogant sloths in many areas. It is too bad that the good employees have to suffer along with the slothful ones, but the rain does fall on the good and the bad.

By: GUARDIAN on 7/15/11 at 7:54

GUARDIAN- You only need to drive by and watch them at work to know that Ro told the truth.

By: govskeptic on 7/15/11 at 8:08

So, pswindle and the everglowing Moonglow agrees with Service Employees Union
that all should get a raise no matter the performance. Sounds so typical of those
that are give away artist. It's time government employees are put on notice that
performance count, not just showing up! This should be the setting for the future no
matter who or what party is in charge. Tenure type items were abandoned by the
private sector many yrs ago, now it being accountable no matter your job or your
employer. It's coming as a pesky new fact of life for many, but get use to it!

By: Kosh III on 7/15/11 at 8:29

"It's time government employees are put on notice that
performance count"

Performance does NOT count. A state employee can get a 5 out of 5 on annual review and it means nothing because state employees do NOT get merit raises.
They don't get any raise unless the legislature passes it.

I also dare Guardian to get a job with DCS as a case worker. Be on call to get up in the middle of the night, go into a dysfunctional home and try to rescue an child who may be abused or abandoned.
Then tell us where the nearest business is that does this. Or church. There are none because you "values" types only value your bank account.
This was the first rise since 08 and was 1.6%. Meanwhile, insurance costs rose approx 40% this year, a substantial cut in real income. Not to mention rising costs of everything else like gas.
The only arrogant sloths are the CEO's and bankers who wrecked this economy and got a bonus from Bush in the form of TARP.

By: budlight on 7/15/11 at 9:03

I heard that some of the guys on the road crews and towing are making $45 an hour. At that rate and with overtime, who needs a raise.

Kosh, why did Insurance costs raise 40% this year? Did it have anything to do with Obama and his ODrama Care(less)?

I have no insurance after July 30th. I'm not sure how that will affect my quality of life, but I'll keep ya'll up to date.

By: billyraydallas on 7/15/11 at 9:29

Public employees unions need to wake up and smell the coffee... raises are for those who do their job -- not even reserved for those you excel-- but if you don't do your job then you are lucky to have one. At least, that is the way it is in the real world. Economics and reality need to enter the equation when public employees unions are making demands. Such a reaction by the union is an embarrasment to the many, many dedicated public employees, who by the way deserve a raise.

By: Kosh III on 7/15/11 at 9:39

No Syd, it had nothing to do with the impending health care reforms. It was Bredesen giving a good deal to his buddies at BCBST & Cigna at the expense of employees.

"I heard that some of the guys on the road crews and towing are making $45 an hour. At that rate and with overtime, who needs a raise"

What about CEO's and Wall Street crooks who get millions in raises for trashing the economy?

By: Kosh III on 7/15/11 at 9:40

Syd, you will also be grateful for the future reforms when you no longer have a donut hole in your Medicare---unless the GOP succeeds in undoing that aspect which they want to do.

By: MamaD on 7/15/11 at 9:01

The biggest problem in this is that there are those supervisors who do not treat every employee the same. There are sometimes personality conflicts, and if you are the supervisor, you do have the upper hand. It would be nice to be able to look at evaluations and see the difference in the people who are well liked or friends with the person who is evaluating and those who aren't.

When Haslam gave commissioners there nice big raise, and why did we not hear screaming from the citizens of TN or even our illustrious general assembly when he gave them their huge raises. What criteria was used for this-they came from the private sector so he needed to make their salaries competitive. Well, these people knew what their jobs paid when they accepted them. As usual, there is a double standard when it comes to those "in charge" and those who aren't. Of course most of the general assembly was too involved in bashing teachers to worry about what the governor was doing with our tax dollars.

Huffman's raise as commissioner of ed goes to a person who is a lawyer, not an educator, and he was part of the Teach for America group who loves charter schools.