Commentary: No pay raises during furloughs

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, July 31, 2009
Since 1974, pay rates for California highway patrol officers have been linked to the highest paid law enforcement agencies in the state, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and San Diego.

It was a deal that didn’t make fiscal sense when it was cut, and now, with the state in economic freefall, it makes even less sense.
Under the agreement, this year CHP officers are entitled to a 1% pay increase. Yes - I know - it’s a small raise, but at a time other state workers are forced to endure three-day-a-month furloughs, any raise is unacceptable. That CHP officers have been exempted from furloughs makes their raise even more galling.

At one point, state prison guards had a deal that linked their pay to the CHP. Every time highway patrol officers got a raise, prison guards got a commensurate bump up in pay. Soaring pay for both groups is one of many reasons for the state’s fiscal melt down.
The state needs to do away with all pay linkages. No state pay rate should be pegged to what a worker in another jurisdiction receives. Pay should be based on the market instead - what it costs to secure the services of the worker, and, what the state can afford.

Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.