Took a major step this week to give...


April 17, 1996

STATE LEGISLATORS took a major step this week to give 70,000 state workers a reason to excel at their jobs. In future years, pay raises will be linked to performance and the ability of divisions to exceed expectations. No more uniform pay increases that reward indolent, non-productive employees as much as hard-working colleagues.

This could create a sea change in attitudes and efficiency. State government's personnel system will begin to resemble the private sector's, where performance, not longevity, determines salary increases. Starting in a few years, those who accomplish the most will be rewarded; those who simply put in their 40 hours won't see dramatic rises in their pay checks.

Both the Glendening administration and top legislative leaders recognized that the stultifying, enervating atmosphere in state offices flows from a personnel system that discourages innovation and good work. To get better service for the public and more cost-effective use of tax dollars requires a vastly different approach -- pay for performance.

Under the bill adopted, many personnel functions will be decentralized, with the budget department absorbing oversight duties of the old Department of Personnel. Probationary periods for new hires will be standardized throughout state government. Both managers and employees will regularly review job descriptions, so that each knows what's expected. Frequent performance appraisals will be required, thus building into the system more input from supervisors and employees.

Finally, the state will phase in a pay for performance plan, based on a detailed evaluation process. The details will take several years to iron out.

The goal is to create incentives for state employees to give exemplary service to the public. The emphasis will be on encouraging workers to perform beyond expectations and on making government service a rewarding job, both financially and psychologically. This is an initiative all Marylanders should applaud.

Pub Date: 4/17/96

Personnel revolution in Annapolis; Pay incentives: Making workers, supervisors accountable for good service.

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