Tennessee Shows Merit Pay Works
Often merit pay in the public sector is a shell game. While liberal interests and government employee unions fight tooth-and-nail against pay-for-performance reforms, should the reforms be enacted it is generally expected that all employees will receive decent reviews, and thus be rewarded with a merit salary increase.
In public administration theory managers do not generally give negative reviews to employees, because there is a tension to not replace the ineffective employee but in the era of skimp budgets there is a tendency to eliminate positions. Thus, to save their departments budget and staff positions, managers tend to rate all employees positively.
Yet, Tennessee has demonstrated an effective system for evaluating employees and rewarding hard work does exist in state government.
More than 700 state employees were denied merit-based raises due to poor performance evaluations. These 771 government employees did not meet the standards of efficiency and aptitude to be rewarded with a raise.
Performance is the standard in the private sector; it should be the standard in the government sector.
AFP-Tennessee applauds Gov. Haslam for not only making the policy change to merit pay, but for finding a way to effectively execute the goal.
Federal, state and local governments have tried for decades, since the launch of the Reinventing Government initiatives in the 1990s, to instill performance into the public sector. More often than not, the systems in place were lacking and employees whether they deserved it or not were receiving merit raises.
Tennessee is bucking the trend. As a state we are leading the way in modeling good governance.