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Excuses to retain old pay system paint sorry picture

If the comments being received (at and apparently subject to release on request) about revisions to Chapter 6 of Louisiana’s Civil Service rules are any indication, these changes to be reviewed by the Civil Service Commission on Nov. 4 are more desperately needed than ever.

The changes would more closely tie pay adjustments to actual performance and move away somewhat from declaring almost every single classified civil service employee in the state worthy of a flat 4 percent raise every year, and very few deserving of nothing. But from the comments received about the changes, you wonder just how well served Louisiana’s citizens from a group of people who appear to show a tremendous ability to come up with all sorts of straw men and red herrings in their arguments, but with little ability to think critically.

Summarized, the comments, virtually all negative, argue the new plan:

Places too much power in the hands of supervisors to allow for favoritism and does not really reward people for doing a good job. Now, let me get this straight, the evaluation system – the validity of which must be severely questioned when almost every employee is judged as at least adequate many of which are ranked even higher – is not going to change, just the distribution of pay raises, yet it’s actually argued that it is this change that would affect the ability of supervisors to play favorites? How in the world can one argue that the present system is any less susceptible to favoritism, and therefore meaning the change cannot possibly increase it? If “favoritism” is the problem, the real change needs to be in the evaluation method itself which has nothing to do with the distributional method of the raises.

And this new system would not reward for doing a good job? By contrast, as it stands now, an employee just scraping by gets exactly the same percentage raise as an outstanding employee. You tell me how the current system would do a better job of motivating and rewarding than what is proposed, and thereby deriving more efficiency.

Lets agencies use this as a way to deny raises to their employees to save the agencies money. See above; that is a problem with the evaluation system, not the new proposed distribution. Under the present system, the same thing can be done simply by handing out (which would be more realistic in any event) more of the two lowest categories of evaluations. How would the proposal change this in any way?

Allows some agencies to have more capacity to provide pay raises than others that creates an uneven playing field among employees from agency to agency. If so, wouldn’t that be happening now under the current regime where agencies with fewer resources would have to give out more two lowest evaluations? So how would this be any different, if it is actually the case, under the new regime?

But, more to the point, so what? Employees should be concerned about their own performances, not what others are getting. Further, job classifications operate within certain bands so the same kind of job being performed in different places, if one gets more in raises, eventually it levels as the top of the band is reached. And it is the job of the Department of State Civil Service to review pay among classifications to make sure it is appropriate for the job being done. If some are getting out of whack by many salaries in an agency hitting the top, it needs to go in and make adjustments. Again, this has nothing to do with the proposed plan itself.

Cannot possibly tie successfully performance to pay increases. Meaning it shouldn’t be attempted at all? Certainly the new plan will not perfectly accomplish this. But there’s no doubt it will do a much better job than the current in which only in the most tenuous fashion does pay get linked to actual performance.

None of these objections, upon analysis, hold any water. But that doesn’t mean that implementing the new plan by itself, as explained elsewhere, accomplishes the objective of greater performance for less money. Two other things must happen.

One, the evaluation system must be made realistic. It should be obvious that no organization, especially one not facing market pressures, has almost no inadequate employees, and so many good ones. The Commission must investigate ways in which to have evaluations performed that more genuinely reflect the true performances of classified employees, and implement necessary changes based on this.

Two, supervisory training of the new system must be adequate. Supervisors who will be doing the evaluating must have a clear idea about how do it: knowledge of benchmarks, how to measure those benchmarks, how to translate those benchmarks into ratings, and the like. As an example of where there may be a gap that can be addressed by this, in academia unclassified employees often supervise not only other unclassified employees (such as faculty members), but classified employees as well (such as secretaries). Civil Service must rigorously train every supervisor in the proposed plan should the Commission wisely adopt it to make sure proper implementation produces valid results.

Let’s hope for the sake of reassurance of quality in Louisiana’s civil service that the comments received as of a week prior to the deadline are reflective of an unrepresentative set of individuals comprising present and former employees in the classified service, and for the future’s sake that the Commission understands the vapidity of a great many of them.

1 comment:

Ann Sadler said...

I was a 18.75 year La State Employee as a Office Coordinator 3. Now on medical retirement after being physically attacked and damaged by a manic psychotic patient. If you want the true information about the situation just a retiree. The present employees are scared to say anything because there will be retribution from senior staff! It was done to me when I reported payroll fraud among the nursing staff at LSU E.A.Conway Medical Center Monroe. I was written up and my duty of Payroll Clerk for the Psych Unit was taken away due to not following the (Chain of Command)who were my supervisors and the ones doing the time fraud! When you are first brought in to work for the state all is fine after a while you make a few friends. They pass along the advice of Sit Down, Shut Up and work as hard as you can or you will be fired for some reason or another They will find a way. This is not paranoia among the workers it is fact and is an ongoing problem. With the climate in the State no employee still working will tell you anything negitive for fear of lossing their job. As for my PPR I was a Coordinator 3 but graded with the duties of a clerk 1 of which I had no training. Each year My score became lower and lower. My highest score was a 3.8 but after being damaged it had been dropped to a 2.7 at 2.5 they can terminate you. As was said (The Good Ole Boy and Girl system is going to rule, and the employees are going to fall. Just ask a retiree