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Gov. Bevin announces higher pay for KY road maintenance crews

Over 2,600 Transportation Cabinet employees to receive salary adjustments, amounting to over $31 million per year. Administration hopes to offset with cost savings from lower attrition rate and other areas. Some may see increases of up to $3.20 per hour.
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By Ryan Watts
News from Governor Matt Bevin's Communications Office

FRANKFORT, Ky. (MON 31 Oct 2016) - Flanked by a platoon of statewide highway maintenance crews dressed in high-visibility gear, Gov. Matt Bevin today fulfilled his promise to increase the pay of over 2,600 Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) employees.

The new salary adjustment will affect specialized maintenance job classifications including highway equipment operators, laborers, mechanics, machinists and welders, as well as engineering technologists. Employees, depending on their classification, could see a salary increase of up to $3.20 per hour by January 2017.

"Whenever Kentucky's roadways are affected by weather, accidents or maintenance, it directly impacts the safety and well-being of all Kentuckians," said Gov. Bevin. "Not often enough do we take time to thank the men and women who ensure that, both day and night, the rest of us to have clear and safe paths to work, school and elsewhere. This salary adjustment is long-overdue, and I hope will show at least a small measure of the gratitude we feel for the hard-working Transportation Cabinet employees who risk their own safety on our behalf throughout the year."

Following the directive from the 2016 Legislative Session, the Personnel Cabinet recommended new special entrance rates for the highway equipment operator and highway superintendent series, which covers 1,912 employees. In addition, the Personnel Cabinet recommended that the salaries of 530 employees in the transportation engineering technologist II and III positions be adjusted following their review of a previous salary study.

The Transportation Cabinet adopted the Personnel Cabinet's recommendations and expanded the benefit to include special entrance rates and compression adjustments to an additional 194 maintenance employees that are essential to perform snow and ice operations.

"The revolving-door attrition of employees has all but crippled our ability to retain a dependable workforce. Many of these employees will leave the Cabinet to pursue a better opportunity in the private sector," said Sec. Greg Thomas. "This adjustment will incentivize new hires as well as current employees to remain with the Cabinet for a long, tenured career. Maintaining a reliable, well-trained workforce ensures critical operations that affect the public continue without the disruption staff turnover can create."

Over the last few years, the Cabinet has witnessed a reoccurring 13 percent turnover rate in maintenance staff, resulting in an alarming work force shortfall. In fact, salary adjustments for maintenance staff have not occurred since 2006.

The salary adjustments will cost the Cabinet over $31 million annually. However, several cost-saving efforts including cross-training of existing workforce, improved efficiencies of snow and ice operations and decreases in miscellaneous expenditures will offset the difference of the adjustment.

The Cabinet will now have more flexibility to utilize and rely on more of its workforce for maintenance operations including pavement, guardrail, and cable barrier repair, signal operations, bridge patching, culvert replacement projects, mowing, tree and bush trimming and roadside beautification.

This story was posted on 2016-11-01 05:43:19
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