Almost everyone in Louisiana’s civil service workforce received job performance ratings high enough to make them eligible for a 4 percent pay raise, according to a newly released report.
Ninety-six percent of the 37,736 classified civil servants evaluated were rated “exceptional” or “successful” — the ratings needed to be eligible for pay raises.
Just 388 employees, or 1 percent of the state’s civil service workers, got a “needs improvement-unsuccessful” rating. The poor rating makes them ineligible for pay increases or promotions and puts them at the top of the list if a layoff is required.
Another 1,297 employees were not evaluated because they had not been in their jobs long enough for an assessment to be made. A handful of others did not get rated by their supervisors in violation of civil service rules.
The civil service report reflects the first fiscal year under which the Jindal administration’s new employee job rating system was used throughout state government. Adopted in 2012, the plan was piloted in 2013 to work out kinks and get agencies and employees familiar with the new requirements.
The plan is designed to link employee performance directly to the mission and the goals that an agency sets for specific jobs. Originally, the administration wanted to give state agency executives more leeway in determining who should get pay raises and how much or to vary the pay raise according to the rating achieved. But civil service balked at that and moved to the three-tier rating system with increased consequences for poor performance.
Shannon Templet, civil service director, said about the same percentage of employees qualified for 4 percent pay raises as under the old system, which had five rating levels and did not put as much emphasis on specific employee expectations.
“We believe it’s better to help employees better understand what’s expected of them in the end and the performance standard they have to meet,” Templet said. “It’s fairer to the employee and supervisor.”
Templet said the performance evaluation system is “an equitable and reasonable way” to determine whether an employee should be granted pay increases.
Thirteen percent of the employees received the top “exceptional” rating. About one-third of the state Revenue Department’s 710 employees got the top rating. At the Department of Insurance, no one got an “exceptional” evaluation.
Nearly 4,800 of the 37,736 state employees rated will get either no raise or will receive a bump of less than 4 percent because their agencies couldn’t come up with the money necessary to grant the pay increases.
“The majority of executive branch agencies granted 4 percent performance adjustments,” Templet said.
But a number of entities got civil service approval to withhold 4 percent raises as layoff avoidance measures. If funding materializes, the employees can receive the raises down the line.
“Higher education entities are the largest that did not receive adjustments,” Templet said. “Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair.”
Pay raises were withheld from civil service employees at Southern University-Baton Rouge, the Southern University System, the Southern Law Center and Ag Center, Baton Rouge Community College, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Southeastern Louisiana University at Hammond, the University of New Orleans and Delgado Community College in New Orleans, among others.
LSU granted 3 percent raises to employees at its main campus and the LSU AgCenter.