Governor Haslam’s recent comments about TSEA and the performance-pay plan, as reported Tuesday in the Times Free Press and The Tennessean, misrepresent the association’s position. TSEA did send a letter to Governor Haslam in December about the pay for performance plan; however, the letter was to applaud the percentage amounts for the merit-pay plan, as those amounts (2.5%, 3% and 4%) are more than state employees initially expected. TSEA’s letter did not indicate support for the plan. Click here to view TSEA’s letter to the Governor.
TSEA is very concerned about the objectivity and clarity of the performance evaluation system. In fact, on the verge of distributing Tennessee’s first performance-based pay-raise, TSEA continues to hear feedback state-wide from employees expressing frustration about their performance ratings. The Comptroller’s audit states “raters and front-line staff may lack a clear understanding of the process.” There is also uncertainty amongst some managers on how to assist employees who wish to attain the higher performance ratings of Advanced and Outstanding. We are worried that the complexity of this system will cause some dedicated hard-working state employees to lose out on an opportunity to further boost their salaries, which could have a significant impact on their future buying power and retirement benefits.
TSEA will monitor the implementation of these performance raises. As issues arise, we will continue to advocate for state employees to the administration, legislators, and the Department of Human Resources.
TSEA has played an active role in monitoring the implementation of the TEAM Act since it became law in 2012. Through quarterly meetings with the Department of Human Resources and our Project TEAMWork program, TSEA has maintained constant communication with DOHR and has persistently advocated for employees throughout the development of job plans, the implementation of DOHR’s S.M.A.R.T. goals, as well as other parts of the plan. Few, if any, of the issues included in the recent comptroller’s audit are unfamiliar to TSEA.