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State Officials’ Pay Raises

Re “State Legislators, Top Officials Get 26%-34% Raises,” March 27:

What can the taxpayers of California do to prevent these outrageous and unfair pay raises of 26% to 34% for the elected state officials? State employees have not had a raise since 1995. When state employees get a raise, it never exceeds 2% or 3%.

The argument for the officials’ raises is that they need to be high in order to attract qualified people. The commissioner of the panel, Jim Green, says that politics is [becoming] a hobby for the rich. Why then do we need to pay them so much? The state officials have insulated themselves against action for these pay raises by using a panel that the governor himself selects. Public criticism is ignored.

We pay officials more than $100,000 per year, plus a $30,000 tax-free expense account for some, and receive nothing from them except contempt.

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GENE P. MORRIS

Dove Canyon

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Green was quoted as saying, “If you want good people, you’ve got to pay them.” That says a lot for the governor and his Department of Personnel Administration, which for the past four years has effectively stonewalled negotiations with state employee representatives for pay raises, despite surveys of the State Personnel Board that salaries for state employees are seriously lagging as compared to comparable positions throughout the state.

I retired in 1994 after serving more than 41 years as an engineer with the state and can vouch for the dedicated and “good people” that I have had the privilege to work with. It’s a shame when the governor and his representatives send the message to state employees that they aren’t worthy of comparable pay for comparable work.

RICHARD E. ANGELOS

La Crescenta

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Does anyone but me find it ironic that the front-page story reporting the salary increases of our state elected officials, which included a raise in pay to $140,250 a year for the superintendent of public instruction, was located adjacent to a headline that read “Cal State Freshmen in Southland Lack Skills”?

Our state officials maintaining the status quo when real reforms are needed, especially in public education, hardly justifies their current salary levels, much less a fat pay raise.

DON LUKENBILL

Sherman Oaks

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