Scott: Give state workers performance bonuses

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Governor Rick Scott is looking to take another run at getting performance bonuses for some state employees, he told a newspaper in an interview published Monday, reports Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida. But the move could do little to quiet calls for broad-based pay increases after workers have seen their wages stagnate in recent years.

In an interview with the Tallahassee Democrat, Scott said the proposal would be similar to one he pushed in 2012 — when he said agencies should be able to provide performance pay for up to 35 percent of their employees.

“I’ll be proposing something again this year,” Scott told the paper. “I think it’s extremely important that we do that this year. I think that we’ve got to recognize the hard work and the dedication of these state workers.”

Scott portrayed the idea as something that came from his experience in business. The former health-care executive said many agencies were making government more efficient and reaching their goals now.

“I think we ought to reward state workers,” he said.

It’s not clear whether Scott’s proposal would be more successful this year than in 2012, when lawmakers faced a budget shortfall. So far, economic forecasters project that Florida will see a large enough increase in state revenue to cover its needs in the coming budget year, which begins July 1.

The plan comes after several years in which employees have not received a pay raise. And the performance pay initiative championed by the governor would not appear to permanently increase workers’ salary, instead acting as one-time bonus.

At least one group that represents state workers said any performance bonuses should come only after a broader pay raise.

Doug Martin of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said it was “unacceptable” for Scott to make up for six years without pay increases by giving bonuses to 35 percent of workers.

“All of the employees have been doing the work of the people of Florida,” Martin said. “All of them deserve a raise.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.