Please don't make recruiting for state jobs impossible

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What an interesting story in the Sunday Empire regarding PERS and TRS unfunded liability and Gov. Sarah Palin proposing spending $207 million to pick up school districts' extra costs this year, and $77 million to help local governments deal with the increase.

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Right after this, the article goes on to state that for current government employees, however, raises may be crimped.

Is this the Palin administration's first attempt at collective bargaining through the media? I sure hope not. State of Alaska employees have lost more than 24 percent earning power since 1994 alone. There has not been a cost of living study conducted by the state since 1972.

During the four years of the Murkowski administration, the Alaska State Employees Association (of which I am now a member) received pay raises of zero percent, zero percent, 1.5 percent and two percent. And now the powers that be suggest that I might have to swallow pay raises such as these again?

It is the honorable thing to do in a time of a budget surplus to help the cities and school districts with their liability, but is it honorable to do it on the backs of state employees?

So because of this state assistance to them, theoretically statewide municipalities, boroughs and school districts will have sufficient funds to offer their employees pay raises but the state then will not have sufficient funds to offer their employees meaningful pay raises?

What is wrong with this picture? I guarantee you that if the state of does not start offering its employees competitive wages and then you couple that with the new Tier 4 (PERS) and Tier 3 (TRS) retirement packages, the state is going to have an extremely difficult time in the future recruiting an adequate workforce.

Charley Larson


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