Lawmaker seeks study of state employee salaries

State Rep. Mike Bernskoetter wants lawmakers to create a special committee to study ways to improve state employees’ salaries.

Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, recently filed a resolution asking the Legislature to form a 10-member “Joint Interim Committee on State Employee Wages.”

It would include three members each from the House and Senate, a representative from the governor’s office and another from the Personnel Advisory Board and two residents to “look at ways to increase pay for state employees, who currently have the lowest average annual pay in the nation,” Bernskoetter said in a news release.

“If we want to attract and retain a talented and dedicated workforce, we have to pay our state employees a competitive wage,” he said in the release, noting that the average Missouri government employee earns 26 percent less than the national average.

“The governor has cut the state workforce by 3,300 positions and that number could jump to more than 4,000 by the next fiscal year,” he added. “We’ve asked employees to do more with less and they have, but we must look at ways to provide them with fair compensation for the hard work they do.”

The committee would be charged with developing strategies for increasing Missouri state employees’ wages, so they no longer are ranked 50th among states.

Bernskoetter’s bill has not yet been assigned to any committee.

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