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Governor Brownback Approves Raises For Some Kansas Workers

Stephen Koranda
KPR/File Photo

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has authorized pay raises for around 3,000 state workers who did not get a pay hike earlier this year. Lawmakers approved raises for many state employees, but because of the way those raises were structured, some workers were left out.

“This pay plan genuinely came out of reaction to what happened with the Legislature’s pay plan, seeing that there were some folks that were left behind,” says John Milburn, a spokesman for the Department of Administration.

The 2.5 percent raises are only for employees in the executive branch who are unclassified, meaning they don’t have civil service protections.

Robert Choromanski, with the union representing state workers, says they appreciate some employees getting raises, but he says the situation creates inequality between classified and unclassified staff.

“The problem is that classified employees feel like second-class citizens, and that shouldn’t be done that way. They should have taken care of this at the very beginning,” Choromanski says.

Choromanski is concerned the raises will be used to sway workers to give up their civil service protections.

Milburn says the governor doesn’t have the authority to give raises to classified workers without action by lawmakers.

Stephen Koranda is the managing editor of the Kansas News Service, based at KCUR. He has nearly 20 years of experience in public media as a reporter and editor.