Legislature(2007 - 2008)

2008-03-03 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

2008-03-03                     Senate Journal                      Page 2054
SB 297                                                                                                                        
SENATE BILL NO. 297 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                                               
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                                                                           
           "An Act relating to the compensation for certain                                                                     
           public officials, officers, and employees not covered                                                                
           by collective bargaining agreements; relating to pay                                                                 
           increments for longevity in state service; and                                                                       
           providing for an effective date."                                                                                    
was read the first time and referred to the Finance Committee.                                                                  
The following fiscal information was published today:                                                                           
 Fiscal Note No. 1, Department of Administration                                                                                
Governor's transmittal letter dated February 29:                                                                                
Dear President Green:                                                                                                           
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am                                                      
transmitting a bill that would amend the salary schedule set out in AS                                                          
39.27.011(a) to reflect the increase tentatively agreed to by the                                                               
supervisory unit of state employees.  The salary schedule would                                                                 
provide for a 5.5% increase in FY08, 3% in FY09 and 3% in FY10.                                                                 
Provisions that are not in codified sections of the statute authorize the                                                       
same pay increments for employees and officials of the Alaska Court                                                             
System, the University of Alaska, and certain independent state                                                                 

2008-03-03                     Senate Journal                      Page 2055
I tasked an Executive Working Group under Administrative Order No.                                                              
237 with identifying recruitment and retention issues.  Several                                                                 
legislators have expressed concern about whether the state is losing                                                            
ground to other employers.  This legislation would implement a                                                                  
portion of the recommendations of the Working Group.  The full                                                                  
report is available on the Department of Administration website.  With                                                          
almost a quarter of the entire state workforce eligible to retire within                                                        
five years, it is a priority of mine to recruit and retain qualified,                                                           
professional staff.                                                                                                             
The bill would also change the practice with respect to longevity pay                                                           
steps for non-covered employees.  The current law provides for 3.75                                                             
percent increases at two, four, nine, and 13 years after reaching F step                                                        
on the salary schedule, and requires an employee to have seven years                                                            
continuous service before the employee is eligible for longevity pay.                                                           
This restriction will help the state attract and retain highly qualified                                                        
employees.  This legislation would repeal the longevity pay step                                                                
statute, and provide in AS 39.27.011 for pay increments to employees                                                            
at two year intervals after they attain the F step in their range.  The                                                         
requirement of seven years of continuous service would be eliminated.                                                           
 Legislative and Judicial branch employees who are not magistrates                                                              
and judicial officers, and exempt officers and employees who are not                                                            
covered by collective bargaining agreements may receive these                                                                   
increments if the agencies employing those persons adopt                                                                        
compensation policies that include those persons.                                                                               
In addition, the bill would raise the pay range assigned to the members                                                         
of the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) and certain                                                                 
members of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) from range                                                                 
26 to range 27, and would raise the pay range of the chief procurement                                                          
officer from range 24 to range 27.  Statutory references to specific                                                            
salary steps within pay ranges would be removed for deputy heads of                                                             
principal departments, and CFEC and RCA members.                                                                                
The bill would also provide for a July 1, 2008 effective date so that the                                                       
2008 salary increases are aligned with the new fiscal year for                                                                  
budgetary reasons, except that retroactive provisions of the bill would                                                         
go into effect immediately.                                                                                                     

2008-03-03                     Senate Journal                      Page 2056
These changes are consistent with the goal of this administration to                                                            
improve recruitment and retention of state employees, and the result of                                                         
the Administrative Order 237 Working Group.                                                                                     
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                                                        
Sarah Palin