CT News Junkie | $18.3M In Longevity Payments Go To State Employees

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$18.3M In Longevity Payments Go To State Employees

by | Apr 16, 2012 12:49pm
() Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Labor, State Budget, State Capitol

(Updated 6:49 p.m.) This week, 29,789 state employees who have worked for the state for more than a decade will each be rewarded with a “longevity” bonus in their paycheck.

An estimated $12.2 million will go to 26,553 union employees, and about $6.2 million will go to 3,236 non-union employees and political appointees. The average payment for union employees is about $458 and the average payment for non-union employees is about $1,913, according to information provided by the state comptroller’s office.

The non-union employees topping the list include James Blake, an executive vice president at Southern Connecticut State University, who will take home an additional $6,768.99; Michael Pernal, an executive vice provost at Eastern Connecticut State University, will bring home $6,685.03; D’Ann Mazzocca, head of Legislative Management, will receive $6,641.92, and; Walter Bernstein, the vice president of student affairs at Western Connecticut State University, will receive $6,122.65.

Union employees bringing home the biggest bonuses include Carol Williams, Walter Zincavage, Kimberly Chagnon, and Cesarina Thompson. All four work in the Connecticut State University system and will be paid an additional $4,046 this week.

Click here to read a full list of non-union employee payments and here to read the full list of union employee payments.

Republican lawmakers have been vocal about eliminating the bi-annual payments made every April and October and which are not based on merit.

Last September before the payments went out to 3,600 state employees, Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney wrote Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and urged him to put an end to longevity payments.

“While you have repeatedly stated you would support legislation reforming the longevity system, the reality is that you already have the authority to make significant reductions in longevity pay,” McKinney wrote, arguing that Malloy can use his executive authority to limit payments to non-union employees.

Malloy already has signed an executive order eliminating them for future employees and freezing them for current employees.

McKinney and House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero said Monday that the legislature should seek to eliminate the payments themselves.

They both acknowledge that they can’t eliminate the union longevity pay because it is negotiated by the governor. However, they can eliminate the payments for non-union employees.

McKinney said that since longevity was created by statute 45 years ago, it can be taken away by statute.

“We’re in the minority so there’s little we can do, but every chance they’ve had to do it, they’ve ignored,” Cafero said, referring to the legislature’s Democratic majority.

Sen. Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said the Senate voted in favor of a bill that would eliminate these payments last year, but it was never taken up by the House.

Looney said Democratic lawmakers will again talk to the governor about eliminating the payments, but added that the ones for the non-union employees collectively costs a lot less than the payment to the union employees.

Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s senior communications adviser, said Monday that thanks to the governor’s efforts, no state employee hired on or after July 1, 2011, will receive a longevity payment.  And those who currently get longevity payments have had them frozen at last year’s level.

“Over time, those two moves will save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars,” Occhiogrosso said. “If it were up to the governor, they’d be eliminated for everyone, but he doesn’t get to make that decision.”

Occhiogrosso pointed out that federal law prevents the governor from unilaterally eliminating longevity payments for state employees who already receive them because they can claim a property right to the payments.

Last year, many union employees forfeited their October longevity payments as part of the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition agreement, but the payments still went out to non-union employees and some union employees.

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Comments

(9) Archived Comments

posted by: Christopher55 | April 16, 2012  2:46pm

Only in Connecticut!!!, and am I correct they use it in pension calculations??? So let me get this straight, you get a bonus just for staying on the payroll for 10 years? When will our Governor grow a pair and put an end to this??

posted by: Noteworthy | April 16, 2012  7:31pm

That any state employee gets a bonus for taking up space is a stick in the eye of every taxpayer. Look at the money these university people are making. Have they no shame?

Once again, Malloy claims a savings which is nothing more than a pantload of hot air. Fact is, we don’t like the longevity bonuses, theyre not fair nor earned. Just being against it is not good enough. This should have had a huge target on it but alas, Malloy shot his load at it and missed.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS | April 16, 2012  10:31pm

@Christopher55How about the golden parachute payments thst the CEO’s and Executives have been compensated for starting the Financial Crisis.

posted by: triskelion | April 17, 2012  12:59am

Longevity is part of total compensation.  The State benefits because if the amounts were calculated as part of salary, they would be subject to cost of living (GWI) and steps or PARS.  Perhaps someone could explain this to the public, rather than taking pot shots.  And while we’re at it, let’s explain salary compression.  Without longevity many managers would make less than those they supervise, then, again, the public wonders why we have problems.  How about providing incentives to the best employees to move up?

posted by: perturbed | April 17, 2012  6:12am

perturbed

Christine Stuart wrote:

“The average payment for union employees is about $458…”

...and the median payment is even less. Jumping to Page 302 of 604, it seems the median payment is about $318.

Oh boy, I sure am glad our trusty SEBAC union bosses preserved that lucrative benefit, even if it meant giving up years of our lives and our pensions instead. And it was just dumb luck, too: they never even asked us what was most important to us. Somehow, they just knew we’d rather trade our futures for the sake of keeping those longevity payments.

Thanks, SEBAC union bosses!

—perturbed

PS: We’ll be getting to vote on our representation soon. We won’t forget all you’ve done for us over the past year!

posted by: mmal231294 | April 17, 2012  11:13am

More of the same. Thankfully Malloy’s winking nod to the Unions that was the “concessions package” virtually assured CT of a Republican Governor to deal with the unions come 2017…bring on the layoffs!!!

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | April 17, 2012  1:58pm

Well said, triskelion.

Let’s be clear, longevity payments are NOT bonuses. The government, unlike private industry, does not pay bonuses, nor does it have profit sharing or stock option plans. It can’t give out raises either to high performing employees. Longevity is merely a component of the compensation package that pales in comparison to most private enterprises. If it was not paid in lump sum it would be paid out in the biweekly paychecks.

Why this is an issue is anyone’s guess. And why people call it a bonus is simply to sell papers, get “hits”, and attempt to stir the pot and place people at odds with one another.

HST

posted by: Major Shmuck | April 17, 2012  8:42pm

Major Shmuck

Major Shmuck says, Listen up citizens.  Employees at insurance companies get thousand of dollars for a bonus. State workers with 25 years makes a few hundred dollars.  U.S. Military make less.  Stop crying and worry about yourselves.  Complaining about someone working 25 years who get a whopping few hunderd dollars is a bit petty.  See what managers are getting.  See what union leaders are getting… our union leaders drive full size 4x4 SUV paid for by hard working union members.  They are the ones getting big bonuses and big retirements.  Not the members making a few hundred dollars.  KNOW THE FACTS!

posted by: GMR | April 17, 2012  10:08pm

GMR

I don’t have an objection with longevity payments in general, although I would think that they should be largest when it would be expensive to recruit and/or train a replacement.  If you pay someone a retention bonus of $1,000, but it would cost $2,000 to hire a replacement, if you can get them to stay in their position longer, then you’ve saved money.  Ditto if there is job-specific training required that takes time and/or money.