Editorial: State government employees have been on the move

State government employees have

been on the move this year — many of them heading out the door. Nearly a

third of the state’s

classified employees left their jobs during the fiscal year that

ended June 30, according to the Louisiana Department of Civil

Service. It’s the biggest exodus of state employees in the past

ten years.

The reasons vary for employees leaving. Some were laid off. Many retired.

Civil Service director Shannon Templet said many state agencies have been reducing their workforce and “that accounts for

a lot of the turnover among state employees.”

With the nationwide trend in state government downsizing, as many positions become vacant, they are simply not being filled.

Quite a few state workers are

leaving voluntarily, though. Templet said the decision these workers

made to leave is probably

“heavily influenced” by the layoff situation. When workers see the

writing on the wall, they often seek out more secure positions.

Another factor is salaries that remain stagnant. There have been no state employee pay raises in four years, according to

Civil Service Commissioner Curtis “Pete” Fremin.

The fiscal year that began July 1 marks a turning point for state agencies. For the first time in several years, some are

now able to grant pay raises.

After a 32-percent turnover this past year (a rate that is up 14.6 percent from last year), there are now just over 40,000

full-time equivalent classified employees on the state’s payroll.

And the state is still hiring. On Tuesday, there were a total of 377 jobs available statewide on the Louisiana Civil Service website (www.civilservice.louisiana.gov). In Calcasieu Parish alone, there were 26 jobs available listed on the site.

It is always wise to “trim the fat” from agencies because state revenues that come largely from taxes and fees are finite.

Streamlining is a good thing.

Let’s hope, though, that those workers who are let go or who have left voluntarily to find better paying, stable jobs are

successful in their search for new employment.

 

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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Mike Jones, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.