Bonuses for state workers appear more likely | News
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT)- It appears that state employees are more likely to get their 3% bonus.
A budget amendment that would've made the bonus more difficult for state workers to get went down in the strongest way possible — a unanimous vote that effectively kills it.
The final vote left no doubt about it. At 95 to 0, the amendment barely stood a chance.
Del. Jennifer McClellan had been hearing the complaints.
"State employees sort of felt like they were smacked in the face," said McClellan (D-Richmond).
The idea — authored by Governor Bob McDonnell — was to tie a one-time 3% bonus exclusively to state savings instead of state revenues. But in order to qualify for the bonus, state agencies would've had to find millions in savings by the end of June.
Not enough time, said the unusually unified House of Delegates.
"We felt like it was unfair to ask our state employees to look for additional savings in the last six weeks of the budget," McClellan said.
Earlier, McDonnell said his version of the bonus would've made it more performance-based, similar to one state workers got in 2010. He hit back on the issue of timing.
"Part of it's their fault. They've been in session two months longer than they should've," said McDonnell, referring to the often divisive session this year in which state lawmakers passed the budget several weeks late.
So the bonus — which is still not guaranteed — goes back to the way House and Senate budget writers intended. It'll depend on a combination of savings and state revenues, which lately have been on the way up.
"We're still going to ask all our agency heads to help save money down the stretch," McDonnell said.
3% of the average state salary is about $1,600.
The governor still reserves the right to veto the bonus, but he's given no indication he intends to do so.
If the forecast holds for state savings and revenues, the employee bonus would be paid in December.
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