Legislature(2019 - 2020)

2019-10-23 House Journal

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2019-10-23                     House Journal                      Page 1371
HB 48                                                                                                                         
The following letter dated October 11 was received at 11:56 a.m.:                                                               
"Dear Speaker Edgmon:                                                                                                           
Under the authority vested in me by Article II, Section 15,                                                                     
Constitution of the State of Alaska, I have vetoed the following bill:                                                          
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 48(FIN) am                                                                                           
     "An Act removing from the exempt service of the state persons                                                              
     who are employed in a professional capacity to make a temporary                                                            
     or special inquiry, study, or examination as authorized by the                                                             
     governor and including those persons in the partially exempt                                                               
     service of the state; repealing the authority of the governor or a                                                         
     designee of the governor to authorize higher pay than is otherwise                                                         
     allowable for certain partially exempt employees in the executive                                                          
     branch; requiring the commissioner of administration to submit a                                                           
     report to the legislature; and providing for an effective date."                                                           
HB 48 proposes to reclassify persons that are employed in a                                                                     
professional capacity to make temporary or special inquiry, as                                                                  
authorized by the Governor, from exempt service to the partially                                                                

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exempt service. This reclassification to partially exempt service                                                               
requires the use of the statutory salary schedule, PERS, healthcare                                                             
benefits, and leave accrual. It would also require these employees to                                                           
be tracked for budgetary and position count purposes.                                                                           
These positions, intended to be temporary, were established and never                                                           
moved from “temporary” to “permanent” even though they may be                                                                   
open, two, three, or four years. Also, not all agencies account for these                                                       
temporary positions in their position count or budget.  By moving                                                               
these positions to the partially exempt or classified service, it provides                                                      
more transparency in hire and equal application of statutory pay                                                                
schedules and benefits for state employees. The Department of                                                                   
Administration supported this approach and included this same                                                                   
provision in legislation introduced at the request of the Governor                                                              
pertaining to certain public employees.                                                                                         
However, HB 48 also repeals AS 39.27.011(k). This provision grants                                                              
the Governor the authority to authorize a higher pay step for certain                                                           
partially exempt employees. The authorization must be based on the                                                              
determination that the action serves a critical governmental interest of                                                        
the state, the employee possesses exceptional qualifications,                                                                   
recruitment difficulties existed, or the action is necessary due to                                                             
competitive salaries in the relevant labor market. The determination                                                            
must be in writing.                                                                                                             
AS 39.27.011(k) was enacted into law in 2013, as part of a broader                                                              
personnel undertaking. It provides agencies with a valuable tool to                                                             
recruit candidates with specialized skills or senior level experience for                                                       
positions that are classified as partially exempt. Oftentimes, using this                                                       
section is the only way the State can offer salaries that compete with                                                          
the private sector to attract highly qualified individuals.                                                                     
The repeal of AS 39.27.011(k) was proposed through the committee                                                                
process so that when the temporary exempt positions were reclassified                                                           
to temporary partially exempt positions, it could not be used to                                                                
override statutory salary schedules. It was adopted with the intent of                                                          
closing a potential loophole.                                                                                                   
However, the unintended consequence of repealing AS 39.27.011(k) is                                                             
that a valuable tool is removed from state agencies in their ability to                                                         

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recruit and hire individuals with specialized skills or experience.                                                             
Therefore, I have chosen to veto CS HB 48 (FIN) am.                                                                             
Michael J. Dunleavy