AND BENEFITS 
                               Tuesday, July 23, 2002 
                                     10:00 a.m. 
                           Capitol Extension, Room E1.028 
         Pursuant to a notice posted in accordance with Senate  
         Rule 11.18, a public hearing of the Senate Special  
         Committee on State Employee Compensation and Benefits  
         was held on Tuesday, July 23, 2002, in the Capitol  
         Extension, Room E1.028, at Austin, Texas. 
         MEMBERS PRESENT:                        MEMBERS ABSENT: 
         Senator Jeff Wentworth                  Senator Jon Lindsay 
         Senator Gonzalo Barrientos              Senator John Whitmire 
         Senator Todd Staples 
         Mr. Gary Anderson 
         Mr. Roger Williams 
         The chair called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.   
         There being a quorum present, the following business  
         was transacted:   
         The following member arrived after the roll was called: 
         Senator Gonzalo Barrientos 
         Senator Staples moved to adopt the committee rules.   
         The motion passed unanimously, and the rules were  
         The chair provided opening remarks and introduced  
         committee staff.  The chair then recognized the other  
         members of the committee to offer opening comments, and  
         they did so. 
         The chair called the first witness, Michelle Smith,  
         Legislative Director, Texas State Employees Union.  Ms.  
         Smith stated that their biggest concern, in times like  
         these, is that state employees are going to be asked to  
         do even more with less.  Even though the economy is in  
         a temporary slowdown it will recover.  The problems in  
         keeping our agencies and universities staffed with  
         quality employees will not go away or even start to get  
         better without some changes that only the Legislature  
         can make happen, according to Ms. Smith.  The members  
         of the committee then questioned the witness. 
         The chair called Andy Homer, Director of Governmental  
         Relations, Texas Public Employees Association, who  
         testified that the state of Texas is facing a serious  
         problem with its workforce.  Several factors play a  
         part in this problem.   
         First, the average turnover rate for the last four  
         years is nearly 18 percent, which is extremely high.   
         Second, the state is experiencing a rising tide of  
         retirements, and  finally, there is the failure to  
         retain younger workers who are under the age of 30.  
         According to Mr. Homer, the turnover rate for this age  
         group is twice that of the general state employee.  Mr.  
         Homer stated that the association agrees with Senator  
         Staples' three legged stool analogy, which involves  
         maintaining the retirement system, addressing the  
         rising cost of health insurance, and also addressing  
         the issue of better salaries.  Mr. Homer was questioned  
         by several members of the committee. 
         The chair called upon Brian Hawthorne, President-Elect,  
         Texas Department of Public Safety Officers Association,  
         who offered several ideas pertaining to state troopers  
         in Texas.  The association would like the state to  
         index the salaries of DPS officers to the average of  
         the best paid police departments and sheriff offices in  
         Texas, according to Mr. Hawthorne.  He also stated that  
         they would like to see the institution of stipends for  
         specialized skills and expertise.  Another idea offered  
         by Mr. Hawthorne was to enhance the multiplier for  
         officers who work past eligibility.  Finally, Mr.  
         Hawthorne stated that the association would like to see  
         communications officers accrue comp-time for working  
         holidays that fall on weekends. 
         The chair called the next witness, Oran McMichael, Area  
         Field Service Regional Director, American Federation of  
         State, County, and Municipal Employees, who offered  
         testimony pertaining to the Texas Department of  
         Criminal Justice, which his group has represented as a  
         union for the past 10 years.  According to Mr.  
         McMichael, the average turnover rate for correctional  
         officers is between 22 percent and 27 percent, which is  
         greater than the national average.  Mr. McMichael  
         stated that this number is high due to the issue of  
         employee and management relations.  Responding to a  
         question from Mr. Anderson, Mr. McMichael stated that  
         his group would support an extension of the career  
         ladder for correctional officers. 
         The chair called upon Chuck Hempstead, Executive  
         Director, Texas Association of College Teachers, who  
         testified that salaries for college faculty members  
         ranks about five percent lower than the national  
         average.  According to Mr. Hempstead, when ranking the  
         states in terms of pay, Texas ranks well below the top  
         ten states.  Mr. Hempstead was questioned by several  
         members of the committee.      
         The chair called the next witness, Dr. Charles Zucker,  
         Executive Director, Texas Faculty Association, who  
         addressed two issues.  The first was the "brain drain"  
         problem which refers to the issue of recruiting and  
         retaining first-rate faculty members, who were turning  
         down offers made by public institutions of higher  
         education to accept higher paying positions elsewhere.   
         The second issue  
         addressed by Dr. Zucker was the plight of the part-time  
         We are now a state where in terms of headcount in the  
         public colleges and universities, part-time faculty  
         out-number full-time faculty, according to Dr. Zucker.   
         The Association would like for the committee to look  
         into providing a minimum per course salary for  
         part-time faculty, as well as health insurance benefits  
         for long-term part-timers who teach more than 50  
         percent of a full-time load at the employment  
         institution, according to Dr. Zucker.   
         The committee recessed at 12:06 p.m. for a lunch break.   
         The chair called the committee back to order at 1:17  
         p.m. and called upon Mike Higgins, Chief of Staff,  
         Texas Fire Fighters Association, who testified about  
         the following issues pertaining to fire fighters:   
         better salaries, early age retirement, and reduced   
         working  hours.      
         The chair called upon Kelli Vito, State Classification  
         Officer, State Auditor's Office and Tony Garrant,  
         Assistant State Classification Officer, State Auditor's 
         Office, who offered testimony about the state  
         compensation system.  Mrs. Vito offered the following  
         five options for salary increases:  1.  Across the  
         board salary increases, 2. Cost of living increase, 3.   
         Target specific positions that fall behind the market,  
         4.  Offer merit increases, and 5.  Offer time in  
         position pay. 
         Mr. Garrant testified that the state needs a branding  
         campaign which would focus on attraction and retention  
                                SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON STATE EMPLOYEE  
                                                  COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS 
                                                     Tuesday, July 23, 2002 
                                                                      page   4 
         of employees.  He also addressed the issue of why  
         employees are leaving state government.   
         According to Mr. Garrant, the Auditor's office  
         developed an online exit survey for employees, and have  
         discovered the following three reasons people are  
         leaving:  1.  Retirement, 2. Pay, and 3.  Relationship  
         with supervisor.   
         The chair called upon Sheila Beckett, Executive  
         Director, Employees Retirement System of Texas, who  
         provided an overview of state employee benefits.  Ms.  
         Beckett offered a discussion about the following  
         employee benefits:  retirement, insurance coverage,  
         deferred compensation (Texa$aver), and TexFlex  
         Public testimony took place and committee members  
         questioned the witnesses.   
         A discussion was held about future meetings.  There  
         being no further business, at 3:32 p.m. Senator  
         Wentworth announced that the committee would stand in  
         recess subject to the call of the chair.  Without  
         objection, the committee recessed. 
         Senator Jeff Wentworth, Chair 
         Robert Haley, Clerk