LSU employees to receive pay bumps

For the second year in a row, employees at LSU’s flagship campus are getting pay raises.

LSU’s president and chancellor, F. King Alexander, announced the news Friday afternoon. The campus — which includes the law school and agricultural center — plans to give 3 percent merit pay raises.

The pay boosts follow last year’s 4 percent pay increases.

Alexander attributed the pay raises to a strong legislative session and an expected enrollment boost. He said it is important to recognize employees’ hard work and dedication.

“This year’s increase, along with the pension reform measures approved this session, helps us to be more competitive with our national peers in recruiting and retaining the faculty and staff who serve our students inside and outside of our classrooms and research labs. We know that everyone on campus is responsible for helping our students from their first day to the day they cross the stage and receive their degree. Please know that we greatly appreciate your efforts and dedication to LSU,” Alexander wrote Friday in an email.

Months ago, Gov. Bobby Jindal announced pay raises for rank-and-file state workers, marking the first significant salary boosts in some time after years of tight state budgets. The current state budget includes $27 million in merit pay increases for eligible state workers and $22 million in pay raises for State Police commission officers.

It marked the first pay raise in several years for thousands of state employees whose agencies have not had the funds to cover the 4 percent raise that can be given annually based on their job performance.

Agencies were able to give pay raises before this year’s state spending plan. They just had to find the money within their individual budgets.

Nearly half of Louisiana’s classified state employees received a 4 percent increase in their paychecks last fiscal year, including those working in social service, public safety, transportation, environmental and wildlife agencies. Other rank-and-file state government workers went without raises although some leaders later found dollars for late-in-the-year boosts.

At LSU, several hundred faculty have left since 2008. Many took higher-paying jobs at other universities.

Texas A&M announced earlier this year that long-time LSU political science professor Kirby Goidel was headed to Texas. Goidel was director of LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab for 12 years.

Alexander started boosting pay soon after he took the helm at LSU. The pay raises have been merit based, meaning supervisors decide who deserves them.

The latest raise comes just a few weeks into the new fiscal year, and details are scarce, including the total costs of the increases.

LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said Alexander was in meetings Friday afternoon and unavailable for comment.

Follow Michelle Millhollon on Twitter @mmillhollon. For more coverage of Louisiana government and politics, follow our Politics Blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/ politicsblog/.