Time to End Longevity Payments

April 7, 2011

Hartford, CT – Senator Len Fasano (R-34) joins Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-28) in calling for an end to the practice of providing twice-a-year bonuses to thousands of state employees for simply staying on the job for 10 years or more.

On April 1st, 30,000 state employees received a “longevity payment” in their check. To pay for this expense, $18 million was deducted from the state’s General Fund and Special Transportation Fund.

Senator Len Fasano says now is the time to stop this cycle of waste. “This is a systematic change that needs to happen,” said Senator Fasano. “State workers receive increases in those payments after they reach 15, 20, and 25 years of service as well and these ‘bonuses’ are based on years of service, not job performance.”

Adding insult to injury the longevity payments are provided in addition to cost of living adjustments. These costs are embedded into state employee union contracts.

Senate Minority Leader McKinney added, “Taxpayers are on the hook for almost $40 million a year to pay for these bonuses. To eliminate our multi-billion budget gap, we must cut these types of expenses and adopt real reductions in spending. Connecticut should not be burdening families and businesses to cover this excess. State government cannot afford to do this.”

Connecticut rules permit the legislature to review and vote on every state union contract. But it is common practice for the majority party to put these contracts on the calendar without raising them for a vote, the result? After 30 days of inaction the contracts are automatically approved.

“These contracts have for years been allowed to continue without the vote of the House and Senate and it’s time to end the practice,” said Senator Fasano. “The Governor has said he wants the legislature to vote on these contracts and I agree.”

This week Patrice Peterson, president of CSEA/SEIU Local 2001, told the lawmakers she is opposed to a bill that would require legislators to vote on all state employee collective-bargaining agreements, claiming “it gives the Governor two bites at the apple.”

Senator Fasano takes issue with that saying, “It is our right and our duty to the public to look at these contracts and to agree, or disagree with the details.”