The Joint Interim Committee on State Employee Wages has had its first meeting, and members began asking questions about how Missouri’s state employees are paid. The consensus is, not well. Committee Vice Chair Mike Kehoe says if there was a way to look at the wages in different departments and compare them to states around Missouri, the committee could see just how far behind Missouri is.

Arkansas is known to pay its state employees the lowest of any state in the union. Committee members will be gathering statistics from the Office of Administration to see why Missouri ranks so low on the list, be it because the starting salaries are low, or that raises just don’t happen. Committee leaders say it will be difficult to find a solution in such a tight budget, but maybe performance based raises could be a solution.

Also, not all state employees will even be looked at under this committee, because there are so many. The Committee Chair says the committee will start by looking at only those under the Office of Administration, which does not include transportation, Highway Patrol or Teachers.

The Committee plans to meet again in a few weeks, after the Office of Administration gets some data to the committee members.