Governor McDonnell had a town hall meeting today  with state employees to deliver some sobering news. 

There will be no pay raises next year and state employees will have to pony up a portion  of the VRS contribution.  (Has that passed the General Assembly yet?)   According to the Richmond Times Dispatch:

He did not say how much but cited a Joint Legislative and Audit Review Commission report that found the Virginia Retirement System and other state-supported pension plans have unfunded liabilities of $17.6 billion.

The state has been paying employees’ 5 percent share since 1983. When a state employee at the town-hall forum pointed out that that payment began in lieu of a pay raise, McDonnell said “you are exactly right” but said the state employees will have to begin making a “shared sacrifice.”

What is a” shared sacrifice?”  Who else is sharing this sacrifice?  McDonnell did share some good news after the double whammy.  He informed state workers that there would be no furloughs and health insurance would not go up.  The furloughs were particularly troublesome in the past. 

The good news is, people still have jobs. 

Has pay been frozen for the General Assembly and for the executive branch of the state government? 

This was the first town hall meeting for state employees.  Most employees said that they appreciated the candor.  Those who were not present could view the town hall meeting on the governor’s website. 

31 Thoughts to “State Employees Bite the Bullet…again”

  1. Will our county employees not get a raise again this year? This will be year 3 or 4? Do the supervisors take their raises?

  2. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Who else is sacraficing? Is that a serious question? Maybe, just maybe, we could find an un or under-employed person in VA for you to chat with. That person can explain sacrafice for you.

  3. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Entitlement culture, meet economic reality!

  4. Go back and reread what was asked, Slowpoke. THIS sacrified. And you assume I am employeed. I am not. Entitlement culture? I hope you were kidding. And is this before or after I tell you what you can go do to yourself.

    Why is it a shared sacrifice?

  5. marinm

    State employees are getting a good deal. No layoffs, no furloughs, no health insurance premium increase and asking them to pay a SMALL portion of thier own retirement?

    I’d invite someone to go down to Martinsville, Virginia and ask if that’s ‘fair’ to those residents.

    1. @marin

      I suppose it depends on how much of their retirement they will be asked to pay. On the other hand, perhaps they are grateful that it was paid for as long as it was.

      Will they be forced to join VRS? In the old days, the answer to that is yes.

      No value put on this thread. Just questions.

  6. marinm

    I don’t see the issue with employee’s paying all of their own retirement. We can make the case that an employer can contribute some part but the whole thing? Really? That’s a sweetheart deal that you just don’t see in the commercial world.

    Most people in the commercial world are given 401s or 403s. Pension plays are very rare.

    My health insurance went up 26% this year. Now, I don’t expect nor do I want state employee’s insurance to go up but 0% says to me that the State is eating the cost and not passing it to employees. Of course it’s taxpayers that eat the cost not the state..

  7. Marin, I figured I would come back to this thread. I reread the post and nowhere do I see the word ‘fair.’ Why is the state employment situation being compared to Martinsville? Are there an abundance of state workers there?

    Many state employs aren’t even in the VRS system because they are not full time. I keep getting this sense that state empoyees are govt workers therefore they are children of a lesser god and that they should feel fortunate to have jobs.

    The flip side of that argument is that Virginians should be grateful for those workers. Those workers are our judges, our magistrates, our prison guards, the folks who make sure we have birth certificates, drivers licenses, booze, fishing and hunting licenses and who do the background checks for us. The state isn’t going to run on its own. My question is, how long can we ask people to go without a raise? The county employees are into their third year. The feds pay better and even with their freeze, many county people from PWC would be financially ahead to go with private industry or the feds. Many have done so.

  8. marinm

    The best and brightest don’t go into government. So, why pay rates for the best and the brightest?

    The feds can (and do) print more money where the County or State does not.

  9. Andy H

    I don’t know that I’ll get in the middle of this other than to say that the state has got to turn VRS into a sustainable program. That probably means going to defined contribution…

  10. Elena

    You know what Slow, no, I won’t say it, it would be very unladylike.

    My mom, whose salary would NEVER EVER support a family has not had a raise in four years. Is she thankful for her job, of course, but let me ask you, have YOU gone four years without a raise, trying to support your wife and children?

    My mom has one of the most important jobs there is if you happen to have to put your kids in daycare. Considering the importance of her job to make sure children are safe, you bet your ass she doesn’t get paid enough.

  11. marinm :

    The best and brightest don’t go into government. So, why pay rates for the best and the brightest?

    The feds can (and do) print more money where the County or State does not.

    That is a horrible thing to say. It is arrogant and simply not true. That is really elitist. All those doctors teaching at MCV and UVA are state employees. They aren’t the best and the brightest? Well excuse me! The scientists at NASA aren’t the best and brightest? Jesus Christ, what do you want? Neil Armstrong, Dwight Eisenhower, John Glenn, aren’t the best and the brightest? Commander of the Allied forces was second best?

    Those are some of the stars. Could you compete with them? I think not. Then there are the regular folks who go to work every day and giving their best shot. Since when are these people second rate and denigrated?

    You all are wet behind the ears if you think that private industry has it all over government. Call them next time your house is on fire or you need someone to fight a war for you.

  12. Andy,

    the VRS was just fine until VA started putting its hand in the till. I am not sure what they are doing is even Constitutional. That part has disappeared off their web site.

    As for people having to pay some of their own contribution…what will be will be. I would hope that would open up the system to the part timers who are not eligible.

  13. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Elena :
    You know what Slow, no, I won’t say it, it would be very unladylike.
    My mom, whose salary would NEVER EVER support a family has not had a raise in four years. Is she thankful for her job, of course, but let me ask you, have YOU gone four years without a raise, trying to support your wife and children?
    My mom has one of the most important jobs there is if you happen to have to put your kids in daycare. Considering the importance of her job to make sure children are safe, you bet your ass she doesn’t get paid enough.

    Hmmm, my wife and your Mom must do very similar things. She hasn’t had a raise in years, either. She gets paid what the market will bear. Is it right? Probably not. Why does a football player make millions and millions? Heck if I know, it’s what the market will bear. Go figure!

  14. So no one has defined “shared sacrifice.” What does he mean? Who is he suggesting the state workers share with? What is the sacrifice? So far it is a stupid, meaningless expression.

  15. Elena

    That was all I wanted to hear, that at least you question the ethical premise behind not giving a raise to many of these very deserving state employees, of whom my mom is one of.

  16. Lots of things aren’t right. Some of those things that aren’t right can’t be helped.

    When I put up this thread, I didn’t put a ‘value’ on it. I didn’t take a side. However, I was called an elitist, and basically stupid–for posing a discussion question about what ‘shared sacrifice’means.

    That is just effen rude.I also don’t want to hear how civil servants are second are third best. I sat on my hands not to say some real regretable things that simply could not be taken back in. Civil servants are the backbone of this country. They are really who make it all tick. Look down your noses. Countries, states and localities don’t run themselves. If that is what you want, go live somewhere in the middle of no where, but don’t be disrespectful to those who go out every day and make it all work.

    Some of you all need to remember that this is a blog of many people with many different backgrounds.

  17. Elena

    Private industry is the best, can’t get better than that! WHAT???? I am harkening back to a global economic meltdown created by private bankers/wall street moguls, how is that workin’ out for the world?

  18. Raymond Beverage

    One thing to have to watch for next is the results of the Governor’s Reform Committee efforts. There are many agencies, especially in the Human Services areas, where as things evolve, there may be early retirements or layoffs. Broad Street in Richmond is a government that is way to “broad” – too many agencies doing the same thing, and as programs or services evolve, so too must those agencies.

    Yes, government service is a tough choice to take up in life…

  19. marinm

    Civil service isn’t the backbone of this country. It’s the taxpayers that pay for the operation of this government that I believe are the backbone.

    It’s not disrespectful to disagree with someone. I do it all the time.

    The point in #9 is why pay LeBron James rates for everyone when we don’t get LeBron quality? John Glenn = superstar. The DMV clerk that rolls her eyes because you come to the window at 4:59p…not a superstar.

    Government pay and benefits exceeds private industry. Private industry has lost millions of jobs during this recession cycle. How many jobs have been lost in government service? Taxpayers suffer and we don’t see that level of shared sacrifice from out own government.

    The notion is that if my family needs to cut back on the luxuries of life or even the neccessities than I should expect the government that *I* fund to show the same constraint. Do I *want* people to lose pay, lose jobs, or lose benefits? No. But, perception is everything……………………………………..

    VRS needs to go the way of the dodo.

  20. Civil service IS the backbone of this country and has been throughout its history. It all depends on what a person calls ‘backbone.’ In settlement after settlement in this country’s history, the citizens measured their success and level of ‘civilization by having a school, library, sheriff, judge, post office and real roads. These services didn’t just get pulled out of thin air. They exist because citizens organize and determine what is needed to improve the quality of life in communities.

    There was nothing to disagree with. I didn’t take a position on this post. Yet you came on and dismissed all civil servants as second rate. For centuries great Americans have grown up with the feeling that they should serve; give back, in an effort to make their country better. This is very much an American value.

    I don’t want to hear anything about DMV rolling their eyes. There are good and bad workers everywhere and private industry is no exception. Private industry is often overshadowed by greed. The government doesn’t own all the stores at the mall where there are gum smacking post-teenagers waiting on people and giving less than average service.

    If government pay is truly ‘bigger’ than private industry, that might be the fault of private industry more than the fault of government. And furthermore, I don’t believe that is true. There are too many CEOs out there making millions annually. You don’t see that in any government. In fact, I will simply say that is true right out of the gate.

    Regardless, there are plenty of people on here, myself in particular, who come from civil servants and who have been civil servants. I don’t like being talked down to and I particularly don’t like being told I am second rate and probably couldn’t do any better. Many people apply for these civil servant jobs and simply cannot make the grade.

    As for VRS going the way of the dodo…Is this where I break my personal rule about not telling people what they can do to themselves? Virginia workers are Constitutionally GUARANTEED this program. Get over it or change the Constitution.

  21. marinm

    You don’t take a position but then you take offense. I don’t understand that.

    We don’t agree with what’s the backbone of this country – that’s fine. But, if taxpayers didn’t exist to fund the government – what happens with the government?

    BTW, the big difference with the mall and govt is if I get poor service I can shop somewhere else. With the govt I’m stuck with the same govt.

    The program is guaranteed but that doesn’t mean contributions are or the method by which those contributions are done.

    Also, as we’ve seen with HCR the govt will violate it’s own Constitution anytime it wants.

    I do mean this with the highest level of respect that I can over a blog – the work that you and Elena and others have done in the public space IS appreciated but the idea that the public can’t have input as to how compensation is done or will be done in the future — just doesn’t make sense.

  22. Censored bybvbl

    Where was all this grousing about civil servants a few years ago when the good times rolled? Did private contractors feel guilty about the poor public servants who didn’t make large bonuses? No. Civil service jobs won’t make anyone rich, but the work is usually reliably there. Private sector jobs may provide higher pay and bonuses but are more subject to economic fluctuations. Thus, those in the private industry should learn to sock more money away when times are good. It never ceased to surprise me that there were so many people who believed that house prices would always rise and the stock market would always pay off. They were too young to have lived through a few down cycles – or perhaps believed that wealth would somehow always trickle down.

    This griping about public servants seems to be just one more gripe in a long list of gripes and hates from the right wing. The party that controls the political scene now is not theirs and they’re pissy about it. Public servants are the most visible element of this political change since they’re the representatives most frequently encountered.

    I’m wondering who will be left to hate. Gays, liberals, moderates, illegal aliens, Democrats, school teachers, social workers, police, and other government workers are on the s-list. Next thing you know, they’ll turn on each other. Oops – that’s already happening!

  23. Raymond Beverage

    Marinm, had to smile at your line about how “I fund the government” and of course, we all do fund it.

    I smiled remembering everytime I got my pay voucher in the military and read the taxes withheld….and the insider joke of “why are we paying our own salary?” was popular with the troops 🙂

  24. marinm

    Raymond, you may remember..

    They say that in the Army the pay is mighty fine
    they give you a hundred dollars and take back ninety-nine


  25. Marin, no one cares if you disagree. I do care if you insult me. I found this very insulting:

    The best and brightest don’t go into government. So, why pay rates for the best and the brightest?

    And no govt employee is paid cadillac prices.

    If you compare job per job, you will find that is not true at all.

    I not only worked for govt but my parents did and my grandfather was a city manager for 2 mid sized cities in virginia. How can I shrug something like that off. Then you tell me pensions should vaporize. The logical conclusion is that I am not bright, far from the best, and should starve to death on a steam grate in my old age.

    I am suggesting that you should weigh the impact of your words. Some of you conservatives think you can say and GD thing you want and that the rest of us will roll over and take it.

    Please tell me you understand why I am insulted. I never have claimed to be the brightest or the best. I don’t feel that I am. But some mighty talented people have been civil servants at all levels of government. Not everyone is a rock star in private industry or public service.

    And I simply disagree that the private sector is superior. And regardless of my own personal experiences, I have had a taste of both worlds. I do have family.

  26. marinm

    Check. I appologize for the poor choice of words. It could’ve been phrased better.

  27. Thank you.

    Wm Shakespeare said the child is the father of the man. In our lifetimes we require different degrees of service. In many ways, I paid for my own benefits. Others will pay for them as I age. and I have paid for others. I don’t complain about school taxes, for example. I benefit from an educated population.

  28. marinm

    Didn’t say I changed my mind – just that I didn’t phrase it in a way that hurt feelings. 🙂

  29. I realize you didn’t change your mind. And I haven’t changed my mind that Mr. Howler, I, and others allowed you to get an education by paying our taxes.

    The child is the fathr of the man. Passages. For every time, there is a season.

    Read some history about the western expansion. It will be a real eye opener about that which is valued and what greed does to an environment and its people.

  30. e

    without greed the new world wouldve never been discovered. the 49ers struggled over the mountains in search of gold not their inner self. greed is good. dont blur the line between selfishness and self interest

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