Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

03/03/2016 08:00 AM House STATE AFFAIRS

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08:06:14 AM Start
08:09:08 AM HB322
09:18:11 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         March 3, 2016                                                                                          
                           8:06 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Bob Lynn, Chair                                                                                                  
Representative Wes Keller, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Representative David Talerico                                                                                                   
Representative Liz Vazquez                                                                                                      
Representative Sam Kito                                                                                                         
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Representative Cathy Tilton                                                                                                     
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 322 "An Act limiting employee compensation for                                                                   
certain officers and employees in the exempt service; and                                                                       
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 322                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: EXEMPT STATE EMPLOYEE SALARY LIMIT                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) COLVER                                                                                            
02/19/16       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/19/16       (H)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
03/03/16       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE JIM COLVER                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, presented HB 322 using a                                                               
PowerPoint presentation.                                                                                                        
NANCY MEADE, General Counsel                                                                                                    
Administrative Staff                                                                                                            
Office of the Administrative Director                                                                                           
Alaska Court System                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 322.                                                                                     
JO HECKMAN, Board of Regents                                                                                                    
University of Alaska                                                                                                            
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 322.                                                                                     
LESLIE RIDLE, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                               
Department of Administration (DOA)                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on HB 322.                                                                            
KATE SHEEHAN, Director                                                                                                          
Division of Personnel & Labor Relations                                                                                         
Department of Administration (DOA)                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on HB 322.                                                                            
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:06:14 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BOB LYNN called the  House State Affairs Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to order  at 8:06 a.m.   Representatives Keller, Vazquez,                                                               
Kito,  Kreiss-Tomkins, Talerico,  and  Lynn were  present at  the                                                               
call to order.                                                                                                                  
           HB 322-EXEMPT STATE EMPLOYEE SALARY LIMIT                                                                        
8:09:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  announced that  the only order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 322, "An  Act limiting employee  compensation for                                                               
certain  officers  and  employees  in  the  exempt  service;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
8:09:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JIM COLVER,  Alaska State  Legislature, as  prime                                                               
sponsor, said  the intent of HB  322 is to reset  to a manageable                                                               
level some  of the higher  state government salaries in  order to                                                               
help with the  budget deficit and to derive value  for the people                                                               
of Alaska.  He stated that  there are a number of state employees                                                               
earning a salary  greater than the governor's,  which is $145,000                                                               
per  year.    He  revealed   that  the  intent  of  the  proposed                                                               
legislation is  to reset those  salaries to  a lower or  the same                                                               
level as the governor's; however,  he allowed that some positions                                                               
would be  excluded from  the salary limitation.   He  referred to                                                               
the  employee   spreadsheet  in  the  committee   packet,  titled                                                               
"Executive Branch  Exempt Employees with Earnings  of $145,000 or                                                               
More in CY  2015," and added that bargaining  unit positions were                                                               
not included in this list.                                                                                                      
8:12:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN asked if there  are employees in bargaining units with                                                               
salaries greater than the governor's.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER  answered that  there  are  but there  are                                                               
special  circumstances  to warrant  the  higher  salary, such  as                                                               
location or overtime.  Representative  Colver continued by saying                                                               
that  the  listing of  positions  and  salaries in  the  employee                                                               
spreadsheet consists  of only exempt  employees, but he  plans to                                                               
include partially  exempt employees  in the  proposed legislation                                                               
as well.   The total  of the  salaries listed in  the spreadsheet                                                               
comes  to  $11.9 million.    After  limiting these  salaries  and                                                               
adjusting for the  ones excluded, the savings to  the state would                                                               
be about $2 million.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER  further  stated  that he  was  unable  to                                                               
obtain  salary  data  from  the  University  of  Alaska  and  was                                                               
informed  that the  Alaska Railroad  employees are  excluded from                                                               
the proposed legislation.                                                                                                       
8:15:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  inquired why  Representative Colver  was not  able to                                                               
get university salary information, as  the university is a public                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER  replied that  he is  unsure why  and would                                                               
keep trying.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN asked why the university president is excluded.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER replied  that  he  believes that  position                                                               
requires   a   high   level   of   education,   experience,   and                                                               
CHAIR  LYNN  asked  if  the  governor's  appointees  didn't  also                                                               
require a high level of expertise and experience.                                                                               
8:18:38 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER referred  to slide  4 and  reiterated that                                                               
the intent of the proposed  legislation is to reset the salaries,                                                               
and if, for  reasons determined by the governor,  a higher salary                                                               
is needed  to fill  a position with  the expertise  required, the                                                               
governor  could unilaterally  raise  that salary  and report  the                                                               
action to the legislature.                                                                                                      
CHAIR  LYNN  asked  Representative  Colver  to  explain  why  the                                                               
governor  would  do  anything  other  than  set  the  salary  for                                                               
appointees  based on  expertise and  a level  needed to  fill the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER   replied  by  saying  that   through  pay                                                               
increments  ("step  increases"),  merit increases,  and  cost  of                                                               
living  allowances (COLA),  some salaries  that started  out much                                                               
lower  have risen  significantly.    He referred  to  slide 7  to                                                               
demonstrate the percentage rise in salaries.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER referred  to the  employee spreadsheet  to                                                               
describe a  provision called "override."   He  directed attention                                                               
to the  second column  from the  end, labeled  "[Employee Exempt]                                                               
Pay Rate Override," which he  defined as the current mechanism by                                                               
which the  executive branch  can pay above  and beyond  the range                                                               
for which the position is approved.                                                                                             
8:23:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  asked  why judges  and  magistrates  were                                                               
among the exempt positions.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER replied that  he learned through discussion                                                               
with several  Alaska Supreme  Court justices  that even  at their                                                               
current  salary  of  $185,000,   justices  consider  these  state                                                               
positions more of a retirement job.                                                                                             
8:25:30 AM                                                                                                                    
NANCY  MEADE, General  Counsel, Administrative  Staff, Office  of                                                               
the  Administrative Director,  Alaska Court  System, thanked  the                                                               
sponsor  for discussing  the proposed  legislation  with her  and                                                               
listening to  her concerns.   She maintained  that her  intent is                                                               
not to express any policy views  on the wisdom or integrity of HB
322.   She  went  on to  state  her concern,  which  is that  the                                                               
proposed legislation  implicates Article  IV, Section 16,  of the                                                               
state  constitution, which  grants  to  the court  administrative                                                               
director the  ability to  set salary  schedules for  employees of                                                               
the judicial  branch.  She added  that this provision is  also in                                                               
statute and in the court administrative rules.                                                                                  
8:27:23 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN  asked  Ms. Meade  how  the  administrative  director                                                               
determines salary levels.                                                                                                       
MS.  MEADE  replied  that   the  administrative  director  aligns                                                               
salaries  closely  with  the  executive  branch  salary  schedule                                                               
through  a  comparison  of  duties.    She  further  stated  that                                                               
justices and judges  are not included in this  employee group and                                                               
their salaries  are set by the  legislature.  She offered  that a                                                               
bill  setting a  salary cap  may run  afoul of  these provisions.                                                               
She added that  within the entire judicial system  there are only                                                               
two positions that would be  affected by the proposed legislation                                                               
according to  base salary -  the administrative director  and the                                                               
deputy  director -  and there  are  two or  three more  employees                                                               
affected whose salaries have surpassed  the governor's because of                                                               
8:30:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER asked for  clarification on the legislative                                                               
influence  on  the  salary  schedule  by  way  of  its  power  of                                                               
appropriations to the court system.                                                                                             
MS. MEADE conceded that the  legislature did have that power, but                                                               
stated that  the number of  judges are  set by statute  and again                                                               
mentioned  the constitutional  provisions regarding  salaries for                                                               
the judicial branch.                                                                                                            
8:31:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ  asked  for clarification  regarding  the                                                               
administrative director  of the  court establishing  the salaries                                                               
of non-judges.                                                                                                                  
MS.  MEADE confirmed  that the  administrative director  issues a                                                               
salary schedule for judicial employees.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ asked  for  the  statutory authority  for                                                               
[the salary schedule].                                                                                                          
MS. MEADE  answered that the  statute is AS 22.20.037(a)  and the                                                               
rule is Alaska Court Rules, Rules of Administration, Rule 2.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ  asked  if  there  is  any  criteria  for                                                               
exemptions from  the schedule  established by  the administrative                                                               
MS. MEADE answered that the  court salary schedule looks like the                                                               
executive branch salary schedule with  ranges and steps.  The two                                                               
positions mentioned previously, in  regard to base salaries above                                                               
$145,000, are  not on that  salary schedule.   The administrative                                                               
director's salary  is in administrative  rule and the  deputy has                                                               
an override granted by the administrative director.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  asked Ms. Meade  if she had  provided the                                                               
court's salary schedule to Representative Colver.                                                                               
MS.  MEADE  responded  that  she  had  provided  him  the  salary                                                               
schedule  along  with  a  chart   showing  the  salaries  of  the                                                               
employees who would be affected by the proposed legislation.                                                                    
8:33:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  asked Ms.  Meade why the  two individuals                                                               
are exempted.                                                                                                                   
MS. MEADE  reiterated that  the administrative  director's salary                                                               
is  set in  court rule  and  the deputy's  salary is  set by  the                                                               
administrative  director.   She  offered  that these  individuals                                                               
need special  expertise to do  their jobs:  they both need  to be                                                               
attorneys; they both need to  be experts in court operations; and                                                               
they both  need to be  well-versed in the wide-ranging  duties of                                                               
an  administrative director.    She  added that  it  is for  this                                                               
reason that  the two salaries  are aligned somewhat  with judges'                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ asked  Ms. Meade  if she  is recommending                                                               
that   these  two   positions  be   exempt  [from   the  proposed                                                               
legislation] along with the judges.                                                                                             
MS. MEADE responded that she  believes the judicial branch should                                                               
be  exempt   from  the  proposed   legislation  because   of  the                                                               
constitutional  provision  granting the  administrative  director                                                               
the authority to set the salaries.                                                                                              
8:35:41 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  asked if  the constitution  specifies that                                                               
the court administrator sets salaries.                                                                                          
MS. MEADE  clarified that  it is the  administrator's role  to be                                                               
the  head of  the  operations  of the  court  system and  statute                                                               
specifies  that includes  salaries.   She added  that court  rule                                                               
more  specifically states  that salaries  are established  by the                                                               
8:36:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MEADE  further clarified  that  the  constitution gives  the                                                               
administrative  director the  authority to  set salaries  for the                                                               
700  employees of  the judicial  branch, who  are not  judges and                                                               
justices.    The legislature  has  the  right  to set  judge  and                                                               
justice salaries without implicating that provision.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ read Article IV, Section 16, as follows:                                                                 
     The chief  justice of  the supreme  court shall  be the                                                                    
     administrative  head  of all  courts.    He may  assign                                                                    
     judges from  one court or  division thereof  to another                                                                    
     for temporary services.  The  chief justice shall, with                                                                    
     the  approval   of  the   supreme  court,   appoint  an                                                                    
     administrative  director to  serve at  the pleasure  of                                                                    
     the supreme  court and to supervise  the administrative                                                                    
     operations of the judicial system.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ asked Ms.  Meade whether "to supervise the                                                               
administrative operation  of the  judicial system" means  that it                                                               
empowers the administrative director to set salaries.                                                                           
8:38:53 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MEADE   responded  that   the  administrative   director  is                                                               
responsible  for all  operations within  the court  system.   She                                                               
maintained   that   AS   22.20.037(a)   further   clarifies   the                                                               
constitutional  provision,  and  read  the  statute  as  follows:                                                               
"Judicial employees  shall be employed subject  to classification                                                               
and wage  plans based on the  merit principle and adapted  to the                                                               
special   needs  of   the  judiciary,   as   determined  by   the                                                               
administrative director of  the [court system]."  She  went on to                                                               
offer her  interpretation that  creating wage  plans is  a direct                                                               
responsibility of the administrative  director.  She continued by                                                               
paraphrasing  the Alaska  Court Rules,  Rules of  Administration,                                                               
Rule   2(b),  which   read  as   follows  [original   punctuation                                                               
     The  administrative director  shall  receive an  annual                                                                    
     compensation in an amount equal  to $2,000.00 less than                                                                    
     the annual  compensation provided by law  for a justice                                                                    
     of  the  Alaska  Supreme  Court.     Employees  in  the                                                                    
     partially  exempt and  classified service  are entitled                                                                    
     to receive  compensation in accordance with  the salary                                                                    
     and classification  plan adopted by  the administrative                                                                    
     director    under   the    personnel   rules.       The                                                                    
     administrative director with the  approval of the chief                                                                    
     justice shall appoint and fix  the compensation of such                                                                    
     assistants  as  are  necessary   to  the  exercise  and                                                                    
     performance  of the  powers and  duties  vested in  the                                                                    
     administrative director.                                                                                                   
8:40:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  agreed that  AS 22.20.037(a)  does appear                                                               
to provide the administrative director  the power to classify and                                                               
set forth wage plans.                                                                                                           
MS.  MEADE   reiterated  that  the   salary  schedule   that  the                                                               
administrative  director sets  forth is  very closely  aligned to                                                               
that of  the executive branch.   She  stated she did  not believe                                                               
these salaries  levels to be  irresponsible and added  that there                                                               
are just  two positions  outside that  salary schedule  and above                                                               
the governor's salary in base pay.                                                                                              
8:41:54 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN asked for clarification  that the proposed legislation                                                               
would exempt the judges.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER  replied  that according  to  Ms.  Meade's                                                               
testimony and  legal interpretation, the  administrative director                                                               
and deputy director should be  included among the exemptions.  He                                                               
affirmed that  he would review  that and work with  the committee                                                               
to draft amendments as needed.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER requested  a  copy of  the legal  opinions                                                               
that Representative Colver mentioned.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  requested a copy of  the salary schedules                                                               
provided by the court system to Representative Colver's office.                                                                 
8:43:52 AM                                                                                                                    
JO HECKMAN,  Board of Regents,  University of  Alaska, apologized                                                               
that  salary data  from the  university was  not provided  to the                                                               
sponsor  of HB  322.   She offered  that salary  data is  readily                                                               
available and she would make sure  her staff provides the data to                                                               
the  bill  sponsor.    She   continued  by  explaining  that  the                                                               
university recruits  nationwide to find the  best faculty, senior                                                               
administrators, and officers.  She  expressed her concern that HB
322  would  make  the university  non-competitive  in  recruiting                                                               
future mid-management  administrators, who  are needed  to effect                                                               
change.  She cited the  negative effects to the university during                                                               
the  '80s when  the  state  economy suffered.    She recited  the                                                               
directives   from  the   university  president   -  to   maintain                                                               
excellence, increase  enrollment, procure additional  funding for                                                               
research,  and encourage  increased donations.   She  opined that                                                               
some of  these directives  would become  difficult to  achieve if                                                               
the university  loses quality employees, and  she emphasized that                                                               
the  university  would  become   non-competitive  in  the  market                                                               
environment.   She  offered that  the  compensation structure  is                                                               
market-based and is derived utilizing  a benchmark standard - the                                                               
annual   competitive  compensation   survey  from   the  National                                                               
Association of Human Resource Professionals.   She indicated that                                                               
this benchmark  tool lists salary positions  for 55,000 positions                                                               
in  over  1,200  public   and  private  universities  nationwide.                                                               
Currently the University of Alaska  is offering salaries that are                                                               
90 percent of  the national median for  comparable positions when                                                               
hiring new  employees; therefore,  at present, the  university is                                                               
not competitive nationwide.                                                                                                     
8:48:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HECKMAN  said that  a total of  88 university  employees have                                                               
salaries  over $145,000  for FY  16, and  she offered  to provide                                                               
supporting documentation.   She categorized the  88 employees as:                                                               
14 faculty  members; 41 officers  and senior  administrators; and                                                               
33 deans  and department  heads.  She  expressed the  concerns of                                                               
the  university in  regard to  HB 322,  which are:  faculty would                                                               
choose to leave the university  rather than make less than market                                                               
wages;  faculty  would  be  difficult  to  replace  with  quality                                                               
faculty  if   non-competitive  salaries  are  offered;   and  the                                                               
university would not be able  to fulfill its mission according to                                                               
the directives previously stated.   Ms. Heckman cited the example                                                               
of  the open  chancellor  position at  the  University of  Alaska                                                               
Fairbanks (UAF).   She posited  that the university would  not be                                                               
able  to find  a candidate  with the  experience and  credentials                                                               
required  who would  accept a  salary of  $145,000.   She offered                                                               
that  UAF  is considered  a  research  university and  nationally                                                               
recognized  in many  classifications.   She recited  the national                                                               
median  annual salaries  for research  university administrators:                                                               
$337,000  for a  provost; $248,000  for a  dean of  sciences; and                                                               
$287,000 for a  dean of engineering.  She further  opined that if                                                               
the  university loses  quality faculty  and researchers,  then it                                                               
would  be  difficult to  attract  research  funding and  students                                                               
would not choose to enroll.                                                                                                     
8:52:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN asked the sponsor of  HB 322 to specify the exemptions                                                               
of university positions in the proposed legislation.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER replied that  only the university president                                                               
position  would be  exempt under  the proposed  legislation.   In                                                               
reference   to    the   university    administrative   positions,                                                               
Representative Colver offered that he  is trying to work with the                                                               
university to consolidate administrative functions.                                                                             
8:53:21 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HECKMAN  claimed   that  the  14  faculty   members  at  the                                                               
university who teach business,  accounting, engineering, and some                                                               
sciences, could earn  salaries in excess of $145,000  per year in                                                               
the private  sector, but choose  to teach in  Alaska's university                                                               
system.   She added that  it would  be very difficult  to recruit                                                               
qualified faculty because of the  high private sector salaries in                                                               
these fields.                                                                                                                   
8:54:16 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KITO asked  Ms.  Heckman if  the  capping of  the                                                               
salary  of  the   88  positions  prompted  any   concern  at  the                                                               
university for potential loss of accreditation of any program.                                                                  
MS.  HECKMAN  revealed  that  she does  not  know;  however,  she                                                               
offered her belief that it is  plausible that loss of faculty and                                                               
the credentials  they bring with  them may put the  university at                                                               
8:55:01 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  acknowledged Representative  Cathy Tilton  joined the                                                               
committee meeting.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  referenced  Ms.  Heckman's  mention  of                                                               
higher  private  sector  salaries  and  requested  Representative                                                               
Colver obtain  salary averages for  engineers and  researchers in                                                               
the  State of  Alaska from  the Department  of Labor  & Workforce                                                               
Development (DLWD).                                                                                                             
8:56:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KITO cited  board  certified staff  psychiatrists                                                               
listed on  the employee spreadsheet  but not among  the positions                                                               
exempt from HB 322.  He  stated his understanding that the Alaska                                                               
Psychiatric  Institute (API)  has  extreme difficulty  recruiting                                                               
and retaining psychiatrists and, as  a result, has used itinerant                                                               
psychiatrists.  He expressed his  belief that this situation is a                                                               
result   of   non-competitive   salaries  and   a   shortage   of                                                               
psychiatrists  nationwide.   He  suggested that  psychiatry is  a                                                               
field  for which  the Department  of Health  and Social  Services                                                               
(DHSS) needs to offer salaries necessary to fill positions.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER  responded  that the  Legislative  Finance                                                               
Division  analysis identified  a number  of budgeted  salaries at                                                               
the  $400,000  range  at  API.   He  suggested  that  relying  on                                                               
itinerant psychiatrists may be driving  up the cost.  He promised                                                               
that he would  review this with DHSS to  determine the challenges                                                               
of filling those positions.                                                                                                     
8:59:21 AM                                                                                                                    
LESLIE RIDLE,  Deputy Commissioner, Department  of Administration                                                               
(DOA), agreed and  reminded committee members that  since most of                                                               
the  individuals on  the  employee spread  sheet  were on  salary                                                               
overrides,  it  is  possible  that  the  next  employee  in  that                                                               
position  may have  a  different salary  based  on experience  or                                                               
department need.                                                                                                                
9:01:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ asked who set  the salaries for the Alaska                                                               
Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC).                                                                                    
9:01:34 AM                                                                                                                    
KATE SHEEHAN, Director, Division  of Personnel & Labor Relations,                                                               
Department  of   Administration  (DOA),  responded   that  exempt                                                               
salaries are set  within the agencies and with the  Office of the                                                               
Governor.  She  added that some agencies,  through policy, follow                                                               
the State Personnel Act [AS  2015, Section 39.25] and others have                                                               
their own policies.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  asked Representative  Colver if  there is                                                               
any consideration  for exemption of  employees [under HB  322] in                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER  replied that  he did identify  that market                                                               
rates for geologists  and those overseeing permitting  in the oil                                                               
and gas industry are above  the $145,000 threshold, and he stated                                                               
that he would  review the level of expertise  needed by employees                                                               
of AOGCC to appropriately manage the resource.                                                                                  
9:03:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  noted from the employee  spreadsheet that                                                               
many of  the AOGCC  employees are  geologists and  engineers, and                                                               
she offered that competitive salaries  would be needed to recruit                                                               
such personnel.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER stated  that he expects to  have answers to                                                               
committee members'  questions by  the beginning of  the following                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ noted the  exemption for the State Medical                                                               
Examiner in  the proposed  legislation and  echoed Representative                                                               
Kito's concern  regarding the recruitment of  psychiatrists.  She                                                               
suggested  the possibility  of a  broad exemption  for any  state                                                               
physician  position,  due  to  the  difficulty  of  recruiting  a                                                               
physician at an annual salary of $145,000.                                                                                      
9:06:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN, after  ascertaining no one wished  to testify, closed                                                               
public testimony on HB 322.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ reiterated her  opinion that all physician                                                               
positions should be exempt from HB 322.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  thanked the sponsor for  calling attention                                                               
to  state   salaries  and   conceded  that   decisions  regarding                                                               
exemptions under HB 322 would be difficult.                                                                                     
9:07:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ  referred  to  page  3  of  the  employee                                                               
spreadsheet to discuss  the salary of a  portfolio manager within                                                               
the Department  of Revenue (DOR).   She insisted that due  to the                                                               
expertise required  for a portfolio  manager and the  salary that                                                               
such  a position  demands, an  exemption  under HB  322 would  be                                                               
appropriate.   She further suggested  that if  portfolio managers                                                               
in DOR  have job  descriptions similar  to portfolio  managers in                                                               
the  Alaska  Permanent  Fund Corporation  (APFC),  perhaps  there                                                               
should be  consideration for transfer  of these positions  to the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER offered  to collaborate with Representative                                                               
Vazquez in  regard to  the exemption of  portfolio managers.   He                                                               
expressed his  understanding that the legislature  has raised the                                                               
salaries of positions  as needed and added that  his research has                                                               
included tracking salary increases determined by the state.                                                                     
9:11:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KITO shared two  considerations with the committee                                                               
members regarding  state salaries: one, most  Alaskans would find                                                               
$100,000 a  comfortable living considering  the median  income in                                                               
Alaska is  about $50,000;  and two, Alaska  needs to  recruit and                                                               
retain state  employees in a competitive  environment nationwide.                                                               
He thanked  the sponsor for  the information and opined  that for                                                               
some professions, limiting salaries may  be beyond the control of                                                               
state government.                                                                                                               
CHAIR LYNN  asserted his  opinion that HB  322 borders  on income                                                               
equality  in  the  sense  that   salaries  would  be  made  equal                                                               
regardless  of  expertise,  and he  further  stated  that  Alaska                                                               
requires many specialized positions  needing expertise and unique                                                               
qualifications.  He thanked the sponsor for the information.                                                                    
9:15:50 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ asked  the sponsor  to address  partially                                                               
exempt  employees  exceeding the  $145,000  salary  level in  the                                                               
proposed legislation.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER replied  that  he does  intend to  include                                                               
partially exempt employees.  He  also contended that the proposed                                                               
legislation is not about income  equality but more about building                                                               
credibility among  Alaskans about responsible  state expenditures                                                               
and getting  good value.   He further  attested that he  does not                                                               
want  to impugn  anyone's reputation  for his/her  expertise, and                                                               
will continue  vetting the positions  that should be exempt.   He                                                               
further held that  the large number of  state employees receiving                                                               
a  salary  above  the  highest  ranking  official  in  Alaska  is                                                               
philosophically problematic.                                                                                                    
[HB 322 was held over.]                                                                                                         
9:18:11 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
State Affairs Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:18                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01 HB 322 Ver.E Exempt Employee Salary_Limit BASIS (19Feb2016).PDF HSTA 3/3/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 322
02 HB 322 Ver.E Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 3/3/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 322
03 HB 322 v.E Sectional Analysis RVN (2Mar2016_rsk).pdf HSTA 3/3/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 322
04 HB 322 Exec_Branch_XE_EE_with Earnings of 145000 or more_in_CY2015-Ridle-160227(3Mar2016sta).pdf HSTA 3/3/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 322
05 HB 322 PowerPoint.pdf HSTA 3/3/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 322
06 HB 322 Fiscal Note DOA 3-1-2016.pdf HSTA 3/3/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 322
07 HB 322 Fiscal Note UofA 3-2-2016.pdf HSTA 3/3/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 322
08 HB 322 Fiscal Note DOC-AGDC 3-1-2016.pdf HSTA 3/3/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 322
09 HB 322 Court 00 3.25.pdf HSTA 3/3/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 322
10 HB 322 Court Salaries Calendar Year Actuals Salaries $145K 3 3 16.pdf HSTA 3/3/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 322