Colorado Senate GOP proposes slashing corrections pay by one third

In a letter to DPA Director Kathy Nesbitt from Friday, July 19, Colorado Senate Republicans took issue with the most recent salary survey, claiming that it was not properly conducted.

As an example, the 15 undersigned Senators propose that Colorado’s 4000 Corrections Officers should be paid approximately 33% less than their current average pay to match the average salary of for-profit prison employees.

Click here to read the original letter or read the transcript below.

Let us know what you think in the comments or sign your name to the Open Letter, asking Senate Republicans to withdraw their letter.

————————————–

July 19,2013

Kathy Nesbitt, Executive Director
Department of Personnel and Administration
633 17th Street
Suite 1600
Denver, CO 80202

Dear Director Nesbitt:

There have been several reports over the past year that indicate that the Colorado salary survey conducted by your office has not been conducted according to best practices, or according to statutory requirements for determination and comparisons of total compensation. This has been an issue repeatedly raised in briefings by the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) staff, hearings with members of the JBC and your department, the May 17,2013 report by the State Auditor, and the July I, Prison Utilization Study.

The Department of Corrections, as the department with the most personnel in the state and most representative of the average state employee, is of particularly concern due to its size and expense, although the problems do not seem to be isolated within that department. While the 2012 salary survey implied that state employees were underpaid compared to market averages, we have seen no evidence that the salaries of state employees were ever compared with the salaries of private corrections employees within the state, which should be a prime determinant of “market averages.” On the contrary, the legislatively-mandated independent Prison Utilization Study indicated that there is a 33 percent disparity between public and private salaries:

“The final and most significant factor accounting for the lower per diem cost of the private facilities is the level of compensation provided to staff. We compared the payrolls of two private facilities with two state facilities and found the average salary of an employee (includes all facility staff, not just correctional officers) of the private facilities is $34,500 as compared with an average salary of $51 ,357 in the public facilities reviewed—a salary difference of approximately 33 percent.”

The data collected as a part of the Prison Utilization Study demonstrates a lack of transparency and other systemic problems within the salary survey process that seem to severely overestimate the salaries of government employees compared to market averages.

Other major factors of total compensation, especially discrepancies in comparisons of retirement benefits, overtime (or shift differential) compensation, and employee perks such as using government vehicles to commute to and from the workplace, have also been found to have been largely ignored.

We would request that all of these factors be considered and corrected prior to the release of the August 1, 2013 salary survey. Not to do so again this year would result in a continuing loss of credibility, and a continuing detrimental effect on the state budget.

Sincerely,

 

Senator Kent D. Lambert
State Senate
Colorado Senate
Senator Bill L. Cadman
Senate Minority Leader
Colorado Senate
Senator Mark Scheffel
Assistant Senate Minority Leader
Colorado Senate
Senator Scott Renfroe
Senate Republican Caucus Chair
Colorado Senate
Senator Kevin Grantham
Senate Republican Whip
Colorado Senate
Senator Greg Brophy
State Senate
Colorado Senate
Senator Ted Harvey
State Senate
Colorado Senate
Senator Kevin Lundberg
State Senate
Colorado Senate
Senator Steve King
State Senate
Colorado Senate
Senator Ellen Robel1s
State Senate
Colorado Senate
Senator David Balmer
State Senate
Colorado Senate
Senator Randy Baumgardner
State Senate
Colorado Senate
Senator Larry Crowder
State Senate
Colorado Senate
Senator Owen Hill
State Senate
Colorado Senate
Senator Vicki Marble
State Senate
Colorado Senate

CC:
Members of the Joint Budget Committee
The Honorable John P. Morse, Senate President
The Honorable Mark Ferrandino, Speaker of the House
The Honorable Morgan Carroll, Senate Majority Leader
The Honorable Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, House Majority Leader
The Honorable Brian DelGrosso, House Minority Leader
John Ziegler, Staff Director Joint Budget Committee
Henry Sobanet, Director OSPB
Tracee Bentley, Legislative Director, Office of Governor John W. Hickenlooper
Dianne Ray, State Auditor

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One Response to “Colorado Senate GOP proposes slashing corrections pay by one third”

  1. Supre Ed says:

    Never mind…


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