SEANC highlights need for better raises, bonuses in legislative press conference

May 26, 2023

SEANC held a press conference Wednesday at the General Assembly with agency leaders to bring attention to state government's vacancy and turnover crisis.

State government is experiencing a 23% vacancy rate, with a much higher rate at some agencies. Some prisons, for example, are missing more than half of the employees they need to operate. According to the Office of State Human Resources, 37% of new hires leave state employment before their first year ends, costing taxpayers more than $500 million annually in turnover costs.

Commissioner of Labor Josh Dobson, Department of Insurance Chief Operating Officer Mark Tyler, and Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture David Smith joined Rep. Donna White and SEANC Executive Director Ardis Watkins to highlight how the crisis affects their agencies.

You can watch the entire press conference on SEANC's Facebook page here.

Smith told the assembled reporters that in his five decades of employment with the state, "I've never seen it this bad."

"To be candid, there is no substitute for money," Dobson said.

State lawmakers must invest in raises and bonuses to fill these positions and retain our employees. SEANC appeals to lawmakers to make a historic investment in employees of all areas of state government to end this crisis and restore complete services to taxpayers.

The House and Senate have yet to name conferees on the budget. We're calling on legislators to pass a 5% raise this year, a 5% raise next year, a significant bonus to recruit and retain employees, and a 2% cost-of-living adjustment for retirees.