How have state workers fared under performance pay? Good question.

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State workers could be accused of dreaming about this while the economy is still stuck in the mud, but when tax dollars begin refilling the coffers, public employees might start getting raises again.

Their pay was frozen last year and this year as revenue shriveled. In the three prior years, they had shifted to Gov. Mitch Daniels’ performance pay system, and it’s probably safe to assume Daniels would stick with at least some portion of the system if raises were to be handed out during his final two years in office.

Discerning how employees actually fared under the performance system compared to the old days of across-the-board raises is a heavy lift. Virtually nothing about the years when they received performance pay is apples-to-apples, says Dwight Dorsey, who oversees the information system for the state’s human resources department. Layoffs and other turnover are the main complications.

Here’s what is known:

In 2007, the first full year under the new system, the state handed out a total of $35.6 million in raises and bonuses tied to good work. That included $34.6 million added to baseline wages by exceeding agency expectations, nearly $1 million in bonuses handed out in on-the-spot recognition of outstanding performance, and $49,000 in Public Service Achievement Awards for measurable accomplishments.

Just over 25,000 employees received raises and 1,800 received none.

In 2008, the total was $31.4 million to 26,797 employees in about the same proportions as the previous year. Just over 700 received no raise.

How do you feel about performance pay for state workers? Has it improved service? Should it be extended by Daniels’ successor?


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