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Our Opinion: Well-deserved, if diverse, recognition for state employees

News Tribune editorial

Recognizing the efforts of large groups of people is more equitable in theory than in fact.

Observances — a designated month, week or day — occur throughout the year.

Many Mid-Missouri residents, and others elsewhere in the state, were honored during State Employee Recognition Week, which concluded Friday with festivities at the Truman Building.

But the degree of recognition and participation varied across a broad spectrum.

Some state departments and divisions planned a range of events that encouraged employees to bring snacks, dress up or dress down, etc. Other agencies did next to nothing.

All state employees were invited to the festivities from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday at the Truman Building, which was funded by sponsors, not taxpayers.

Although the invitation was inclusive, not all state employees work in Jefferson City. And among those who do, some were required to remain at their posts or were granted an extended lunch period.

DeAnne Rickabaugh, State Employee Recognition Week coordinator for the Missouri Department of Transportation, said supervisors have discretion in approving extra time for the Recognition Day activities.

Is a more equitable recognition for state employees possible?

If the standard is monetary — a pay increase — that is a possibility if the governor and lawmakers are supporters.

If the standard is time, the answer is probably not.

In the final analysis, State Employee Recognition Week is an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the efforts to provide countless services to Missouri residents.

Thank you.

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