The Tennessee State Employees Association listened with interest to what Governor Haslam had to say in his second State of the State address on Monday evening.
His proposal of a 2.5% raise for state employees was well received. Although it is still below the increase in the cost of living over the past year (3%), it is an improvement over last year’s 1.6% and certainly better than the several previous years with no raise at all. State employees are grateful for the inclusion of the raise.
Another proposal from the governor is his market salary study and the $30 million his budget sets aside to fund pay discrepancies discovered by the study in January, 2013. TSEA has long been a proponent of such a study and has, in several meetings with the governor, urged him to conduct one.
We are opposed to the administration’s intention to cut 803 filled positions. Even though this number will be somewhat offset by the hiring of 472 persons in new or previously unfilled positions, such major cuts will necessarily affect the delivery of important services to the public.
Governor Haslam also spoke about his TEAM bill, which would dismantle much of the present civil service system and eliminate many of the protections that system offers state employees and the citizens of Tennessee (for instance the opportunity for state employees whose positions are eliminated to move to other available positions with the state). He believes that the bill will make the hiring and retention of state employees more efficient and business-like. TSEA is in the process of discussing this bill with the governor and his staff. We are encouraged by their openness and appreciate the constructive nature of our talks to date.
When we have had the opportunity to analyze the governor’s detailed budget proposal, we will have further comment.
TSEA is a nonprofit association existing to provide a strong unified voice with which it advocates the work-related interests of members. The attainment of association objectives will ensure a better life for our members and will attract and retain an effective, efficient state workforce to provide services for all Tennesseans. TSEA was established in 1974. For further information, visit the Web site at www.tseaonline.org.