Louisiana civil service leader defends state worker raises

State Politics

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA – APRIL 17: A general view of the Louisiana State Capitol prior to a rally against Louisiana’s stay-at-home order and economic shutdown on April 17, 2020 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Governor John Bell Edwards has said Louisiana’s high rate of infections and deaths does not position the state to quickly open back up. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s civil service director sought to discourage state lawmakers from criticizing $57 million in state worker pay raises handed out during the coronavirus outbreak.

State Civil Service Director Byron Decoteau told a Senate committee Thursday the comments damage efforts to recruit and retain employees.

Republican lawmakers have bristled about Gov. John Bel Edwards’ decision to strike language in the budget seeking to block the raises, at least until later in the year when the virus’ impact on state finances became more clear.

The lawmakers say it seems inappropriate to give pay raises to public employees while private sector workers are struggling so much in the outbreak.

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